Second Taxi Driver Murdered in North in Past Two Weeks

The body of Yefim Weinstein, a 54-year-old taxi driver from Upper Nazareth, was found early yesterday morning close to Kibbutz Kfar Hahoresh. Police say that Weinstein was murdered.

Weinstein's body was found at approximately 2 A.M. after passersby noticed his cab on the side of Route 75, between Nahalal and Nazareth, near the entrance to the kibbutz. Detectives began collecting evidence at the scene and concluded that Weinstein was murdered. A gag order is in place on all details of the investigation.

This is the second recent murder of a taxi driver in northern Israel, with 48-year old Hamze Hamze, a father of five from Beit Jan, falling victim a week and a half ago.

Shimon Amos, shift manager at the Ben-Gurion taxi company in Upper Nazareth where Weinstein worked, said the victim had been employed there for nearly a decade. "He was an amazing person, a good soul. He wanted to work permanently at night, on call after midnight. People are fighting for work so that they can feed their families," Amos said.

The manager also said that "there is no sense of fear" among the drivers. The cab company has about 70 employees and is one of the biggest in the city.

Michael Batashvilli, a friend of the victim, said that "once in a while he would talk about rides with drunken young people, but he never hinted that it was life threatening. At the end of the day every type of work can be dangerous.

"What choices do people our age have? We must take every job. After 32 no one looks at you - you are considered to be a pensioner, not to mention at the age of 54. So you take whatever job in order to survive and live with dignity, otherwise you can't make ends meet each month," Batashvilli added.

One of the drivers, Yair Vaknin, said that "at night there are some hard clients, with a great deal of verbal abuse, arguments, shouting and swearing. We do not go to the police with it because there is no point wasting time because it will not be handled in any case. We have become the punching bag of every nutcase, and the drunks. What do you think - the violence in the clubs stops at the door of the taxi?"