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Israeli authorities have ordered Uber to halt its ride-sharing operations in the country, marking the latest blow against the company after a series of setbacks around the world in recent months.
The Tel Aviv District Court ordered the ban go into effect on Wednesday, less than a month after Uber launched its ride-sharing operations in the face of stiff opposition from Gett, a rival taxi-booking app, and the Israeli taxi union.
They had called on the court to issue an injunction against the US company, arguing that Uber violated an Israeli law barring drivers who do not hold a taxi license from accepting fares from passengers.
Uber agreed on Monday that it would halt its ride-sharing operations but continue its licensed taxi service.
The company launched its uberDAY service at the beginning of November, which allowed ordinary drivers to get paid for shuttling passengers, after operating a pilot program since October 2016. The company said that drivers were being “reimbursed” for fuel and maintenance of the vehicle.
UberDAY was limited to the Tel Aviv area, whereas the company’s standard taxi-ordering service is available throughout the country.
Uber Israel issued a statement following Monday’s ruling saying it was “committed to continuing co-operation with the authorities to determine how the technology can provide reliable, cost-effective and safe transportation solutions”.
The latest setback comes just a few months after Israel’s Ministry of Transport filed a suit against the company, alleging it had violated regulations that banned unauthorised drivers from accepting payment for transportation services. That case is due in court in January.
The company has consistently said since launching in the country that it was adhering to Israel’s taxi regulations.
Uber has encountered legal hurdles in multiple countries in recent months. Last week, the company disclosed that the information of 57m passengers and drivers had been accessed in 2016 in a major data breach. Uber kept the incident secret and paid $100,000 ransom to the hackers and is now being investigated by authorities including in the US and UK.
It also faces a possible ban in London and is in the midst of a high-profile legal battle with Waymo, Alphabet’s self-driving car unit.
Uber has struggled to penetrate the Israeli market, which is dominated by taxi-ordering service Gett, and Moovit and Waze, the Google-owned navigation app, which offer carpooling services.