The Israeli Airports Authority has withdrawn a directive ordering cab companies servicing Ben Gurion Airport employees to refrain from hiring Arab taxi drivers.
Dimi Reider reported on Sunday that the airport’s transportation manager sent a letter prohibiting a cab company contracted by the Airport Authority from employing of “minorities” – a term used in Hebrew to refer to Arab citizens.
The Association for Civil Rights in Israel last week sent a complaint (Hebrew) to the Airport Authority, calling the directive a violation of constitutional principles of equality and freedom of occupation, particularly grave coming from a public institution.
The Airports Authority this week canceled the directive and tried to distance itself from its wording, seeming to chalk it up to a contractual misunderstanding and personnel mishap. The relevant portions of the Airport Authority’s response text are translated below (the Hebrew appears in full further down).
May 21, 2012
Adv. Tal Hassin
The Association for Civil Rights Israel
Re: Moni Siton Transportation LTD
In response to your letter from 17.05.2011, addressed to the director general of the Aiport Authority (hereinafter: AA), I respond as follows:
- The letter distributed by Mr. Shuki Shemer to the taxi company Moni Siton LTD was issued without the employer being authorized to issue this letter, and thus the Security Department Manager has issued a letter annulling the letter attached (the letter with the correction is attached).
- Without derogating from the foregoing, I would like to note that in Moni Siton LTD’s contract with the AA, it commits it will not hire divers who it does not directly employ without the prior approval of the AA. Since complaints have been made with regards to the employment of drivers who are not directly employed with the company, the letter was issued. Unfortunately, the letter does not reflect the position of the AA and its policy.
- The Airports Authority has no policy forbidding the employment of minorities (as opposed to the subject of your letter, Arabs were not mentioned). On the other hand, when it comes to the transport of employees and any other contractual engagement, the AA forbids the service provider from delegating or transferring its services to a secondary provider, without the prior approval of the Authority – such is how it has always been and such is the Authority policy with service provider, without discriminating between secondary providers, and certainly not on the basis of religion, rage or gender.
Aryeh Shaham, Adv.
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