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Sharon attacks El Al

by: Sefi Hendler and Arieh Agozy, Ynetnews - Last updated: 2005-07-31

El Al

El Al

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has taken the side of French Jews in their struggle against soaring El Al tickets for the Paris to Tel Aviv air route.

In an interview with the Jewish weekly Actualite Juive, the PM said there was “a problem with the prices of flight tickets.”

He added, "Today El Al is a private company and we (the government) can’t determine the price of tickets. The solution to this problem lies in the opening up of the market to foreign companies. I think that will happen soon."

The prime minister also supported claims by French Jews against high prices of hotels in Israel.

French Jews who arrived in Israel in recent years, during the second intifada, claim they feel like “suckers,” the prime minister said.

He told the Tribune that "I have raised the problem in a committee of hotel managers and I emphasized that someone has to propose more reasonable prices."

The weekly publication in which the prime minister was interviewed has been boycotted by the Tourism Ministry following critical reports on the high prices paid by French tourists to Israel.

The campaign by the Ministry against the publication has been met with much anger in the local Jewish community, numbering half a million people.

El Al's CEO Haim Romanosaid in response, "I am aware of the claims regarding the high ticket prices on the Paris to Tel Aviv service, and we are investing in ways to solve the problem. I have met with the heads of the French Jewish community and we agreed to continue to cooperate."

He added: "There are times when prices are high and times when they are low, this is not a situation unique to El Al. Sometimes flights go to, or return from France empty, because they bring Jewish groups and there is no one who is traveling in the opposite direction. El Al does, and will continue to do deals to make it affordable for French Jews to fly with us.”

Reproduced with permission and copyright: Ynetnews