An Israeli taxi. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

An Israeli taxi. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

( The wildly popular taxi-hailing and ride-sharing app Uber is being launched in Tel Aviv.

The app, which operates in more than 160 cities worldwide and allows private drivers to freelance as taxis, has faced blowback from regulators in several cities for undercutting traditional taxi service. Israeli government regulators have also expressed concern.

Currently, taxi drivers in Israel must undergo an eight-month course to obtain a special taxi license. In June, Israeli Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz said that Uber won’t “be allowed to operate here under a different set of rules and laws than the ones applied to taxi drivers and everyone else.”

Uber has sent a letter to Katz stating its case to allow regular drivers to freelance as taxi drivers, the Jerusalem Post reported.

Besides being forced to contend with Israeli regulations, Uber will also have to compete with the popular Israeli start-up GetTaxi, a similar taxi-hailing app launched by Israeli entrepreneurs Shahar Wiaser and Roi More in 2010.

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