Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's latest two trips to Europe cost $550,000 for the flights alone.
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The flights, to France in November and Germany and the Czech Republic in December, were specially arranged by El Al Israel Airlines and accommodated an entourage that included Netanyahu's wife, Sara. The plane for the November trip, a Boeing 767, was leased despite regularly-scheduled El Al flights to Paris. El Al won a tender over Arkia to provide the December flight.
The Prime Minister's Office said that Netanyahu is restricted to using Israeli airline companies on overseas flights for security reasons, adding that El Al was the only airline to respond to the tender for the Paris trip. It also said that both trips were matters of strategic importance and included meetings with heads of state and government leaders. The November trip involved a ceremony at the Jewish school Ohr Torah in Toulouse, where Netanyahu was joined by French President Francois Hollande in commemorating the victims of the terrorist attack there last March.