Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has decided to appoint a special committee, led by a retired judge, to examine whether there is a need and economic justification for purchasing an aircraft for use by Israel's top politicians.
Netanyahu recently ordered Harel Locker, the director-general of the Prime Minister's Office, to establish the committee and appoint a judge to head it. Netanyahu told Locker that the committee should review previous work done on the issue by the Prime Minister's Office, Finance Ministry and various security entities.
Later this month, Netanyahu will fly to New York City to attend the U.N. General Assembly meeting. For the trip, El Al will lease a plane to Netanyahu for $1.3 million (around 4.6 million shekels). The plane will include a bedroom compartment, at no extra cost.
Past inquiries have been conducted into the economic viability of purchasing a plane that would serve as Israel's "Air Force One." Professional teams looked into comfort, space and amenities considerations and recommended that such a plane be bought.
On any flight abroad, the prime minister is accompanied by consultants, logistics personnel, security guards and, sometimes, guests. At least twice year, Netanyahu and a group of five to seven ministers fly abroad for joint meetings with representatives of foreign governments.
If purchased, Israel's "Air Force One" would also be used by the country's president.
According to past Finance Ministry calculations, the cost of acquiring a modern aircraft that meets the requisite needs would be around $80 million (around 283 million shekels). After four years, possessing such a plane would save the state around $5.7 million (around 20 million shekels) annually.