Hertz withdraws from Israeli airline deal

Free car rental offered to customers who show 'solidarity' with Gaza action

The world's largest car hire firm last night called on the Israeli airline EL AL to withdraw an internet advert which offered free Hertz rental to British passengers who flew to to Israel to show their "solidarity" with the country, The Independent has learnt.

The adverts, running on EL AL's website, stated: "Now, more than ever is the time to come to Israel. Come express your solidarity with Israel. Fly with EL AL and receive 3 or 4 day car rental for free!"

The advert had a clearly visible Hertz logo and when users clicked on it they could view the terms and conditions which stated that the deal with Hertz Israel was valid for EL AL tickets to the country.

But last night the Hertz Corporation said they did not want to be associated with the offer and said they had called on EL AL to remove it. They have already insisted that their logo be taken off the promotion.

The deal was launched on 8 January, five days after Israel began its ground offensive in Gaza. "We have already had numerous bookings as a result from the promotion," said Anat Freidman, a spokeswoman for EL AL. "We think that the adverts will appeal to anyone wanting to come to Israel."

But the promotion sparked anger in the British Muslim community. "We're appalled by EL AL's advert," said Asghar Bukhari of the Muslim Public Affairs Committee, one of Britain's leading Muslim civil rights groups. "It's really shocking that this type of promotion can run when innocent Palestinian civilians are being killed on a daily basis. Muslims around the world are already taking a stand and boycotting companies who are actively supporting Israeli companies.

"If a company like Hertz would pull out of this deal with EL AL it would speak volumes, and mean so much to so many people. We would applaud such a decision."

A Hertz Corporation spokeswoman said it had not been aware of the promotion being run by EL AL and their Israeli franchise operator who trades under the Hertz brand. He added that the offer was designed, run and managed by EL AL.

"We regret if any individuals were offended by the language that EL AL used to promote this offer," said Hertz's spokesperson.

"The Hertz Corporation, through its franchisees, has an active presence throughout the the Middle East and has partnership agreements with several Middle Eastern airlines. Hertz has no political affiliations whatsoever and provides a car rental service to its customers wherever it is required."

"We are in touch with EL AL and have asked them to consider withdrawing the reference to 'solidarity'. However we are not in control of their website."

The Hertz Corporation is the largest car rental company in the world, and has operations in more than 140 countries. It was founded in Chicago in 1918 by Walter L Jacobs who sold it five years later to Slovakian born John D Hertz, who renamed the company.

In 2005 Ford sold Hertz to a private equity group consisting of Clayton Dubilier & Rice, The Carlyle Group and Merrill Lynch Global Private Equity in a $5.6bn deal.

Several companies who do business with Israel are facing boycotts. "Emails are being circulated alerting people about which companies to boycott," said Inayat Bunglawala, from the British Muslim organisation ENGAGE.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksNow available in paperback
  • Get to the point
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Cancer Research UK: Corporate Partnerships Volunteer Events Coordinator – London

Voluntary: Cancer Research UK: We’re looking for someone to support our award ...

Ashdown Group: Head of IT - Hertfordshire - £90,000

£70000 - £90000 per annum + bonus + car allowance + benefits: Ashdown Group: H...

Day In a Page

Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions
Major medical journal Lancet under attack for 'extremist hate propaganda' over its coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Lancet accused of 'anti-Israel hate propaganda' over coverage of Gaza conflict

Threat to free speech as publishers of renowned medical journal are accused of inciting hatred and violence
General Election 2015: Tories and Lib Dems throw their star names west to grab votes

All noisy on the Lib Dems' western front

The party has deployed its big guns in Cornwall to save its seats there. Simon Usborne heads to the heart of the battle
How Etsy became a crafty little earner: The online market has been floated for £1.2bn, but can craft and capitalism coexist?

How Etsy became a crafty little earner

The online market has been floated for £1.2bn, but can craft and capitalism coexist?
Guy Ritchie is the latest filmmaker to tackle King Arthur - one of our most versatile heroes

King Arthur is inspiring Guy Ritchie

Raluca Radulescu explains why his many permutations - from folk hero to chick-lit hunk - never cease to fascinate
Apple Watch: Will it live up to expectations for the man or woman on the street?

Apple Watch: Will it live up to expectations?

The Apple Watch has apparently sold millions even before its launch tomorrow
Don't fear the artichoke: it's a good cook's staple, with more choice than you'd think

Don't fear the artichoke

Artichokes are scary - they've got spikes and hairy bits, and British cooks tend to give them a wide berth. But they're an essential and delicious part of Italian cuisine
11 best men's socks

11 best men's socks

Make a statement with your accessories, starting from the bottom up
Paul Scholes column: Eden Hazard would be my Player of the Year – but I wonder if he has that appetite for goals of Messi or Ronaldo

Paul Scholes column

Hazard would be my Player of the Year – but I wonder if he has that appetite for goals of Messi or Ronaldo
Frank Warren: Tyson Fury will be closely watching Wladimir Klitschko... when he wins it'll be time to do a deal

Frank Warren's Ringside

Tyson Fury will be closely watching Wladimir Klitschko... when he wins it'll be time to do a deal
London Marathon 2015: Kenya's brothers in arms Wilson Kipsang and Dennis Kimetto ready to take on world

Kenya's brothers in arms take on world

Last year Wilson Kipsang had his marathon record taken off him by training partner and friend Dennis Kimetto. They talk about facing off in the London Marathon
Natalie Bennett interview: I've lost track of the last time I saw my Dad but it's not because I refuse to fly

Natalie Bennett interview: I've lost track of the last time I saw my Dad

Green leader prefers to stay clear of her 'painful' family memories but is more open about 'utterly unreasonable' personal attacks
Syria conflict: Khorasan return with a fresh influx of fighters awaiting the order to start 'shooting the birds'

Khorasan is back in Syria

America said these al-Qaeda militants were bombed out of the country last year - but Kim Sengupta hears a different story
General Election 2015: Is William Cash the man to woo Warwickshire North for Ukip?

On the campaign trail with Ukip

Is William Cash the man to woo Warwickshire North?
Four rival Robin Hood movies get Hollywood go-head - and Friar Tuck will become a superhero

Expect a rush on men's tights

Studios line up four Robin Hoods productions