Israel will pay 97.5 percent of El Al's security costs in order to settle a strike over the country's new "open skies" agreement with the European Union, Haaretz reported. The government previously paid 80 percent of security costs, saddling El Al with an estimated $30 million bill to keep passengers safe.
The agreement with the European Union would open new routes between Tel Aviv and members of the Union, lowering the cost of flights by foreign carriers, to the disadvantage of Israel's three airlines: El Al, Arkia and Israir.
The general airport strike by the Histadrut labor union was called for Tuesday after Israel's Cabinet on Sunday approved the agreement Employees of the three airlines went on strike over the deal hours before it was approved.Dozens of flights by the three airlines were moved up to avoid the strike deadline.
The European-Mediterranean Sea aviation agreement approved Sunday allows European airlines to increase their flights to Israel for five years, which could substantially decrease the costs of airline tickets for Israeli travelers to Europe.
The Histadrut says the deal could mean thousands of layoffs by the three airlines. Employees of the three airlines picketed outside the Knesset during the vote.
Protests mount against taxes increases, rising food prices.
Jerusalem - During this winter of Middle East political discontent, even Israelis are demanding reforms from their government officials.
In contrast to the protesters in Egypt, Tunisia and elsewhere in the region, whose main concerns are an end to oppression, Israelis' gripes are focused solely on the sky-high price of food, gasoline, water and many other necessities.