Benjamin Netanyahu
Benjamin Netanyahu speaking during a hi-tech conference in Jerusalem, June 2, 2011. Photo by Olivier Fitoussi
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Taxpayers will be paying some NIS 600,000 to rent the plane taking Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and eight of his ministers to Italy on Sunday. Arkia won the tender to provide the plane for the two-day official visit.

The plane, and Embraer 195, can carry 120 passengers, but it will be reconfigured to provide Netanyahu with office space and will be outfitted luxuriously. The purpose of the trip is to strengthen ties with the Italian government, similar to a trip to Germany a few months ago, said the Prime Minister’s Office.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz, Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov, Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Shalom Simhon and Agriculture Minister Orit Noked will be joining Prime Minister Netanyahu on the trip to Italy.

In addition to providing luxuries like leather-lined seating, the plane is also considered to be relatively environmentally-friendly, in terms of producing fewer pollutants and requiring the use of less fuel.