The Knesset Finance Committee yesterday approved a NIS 6 million payment to cover the cost of the Supertanker aircraft that helped Israel fight the Carmel fire. The cost includes flying the plane to and from Israel from the United States.

Uri Geva of the treasury's budgets department told the committee that the other planes were paid for by the countries that brought them in to help out.

Committee Chairman Moshe Gafni asked why the cost was so high for two days of work. Geva said the plane had been contracted for four days, and that the actual fee would probably be lower and the difference returned to the state coffers. Gani said the committee had approved the outlay, but discussions on firefighting aircraft had not ended.

"An organized plan has to be prepared that suits our needs in terms of aerial firefighting, such as the planes that came from Greece, which were more efficient and realistic for us."