IS Israel cutting off its nose to spite its face? If air traffic is an indicator, the answer is yes. The numerous complaints from people who wanted to come to Israel for Pessah but were unable to do so because they couldn't get a flight is ample testimony to the stupidity of maintaining El Al's edge at the expense of tourism. Although one would expect Israel to adopt an open skies policy after the privatization of El Al, Transportation Minister Meir Sheetrit still feels he has to give El Al an advantage. That's what he told Austrian Ambassador Kurt Hengl when the latter took up the case of Austrian Airlines, one of several foreign carriers seeking to increase its flights to Israel.WHILE on the subject of El Al, Knafaim, the national carrier's current parent company, is charging El Al $140,000 per month in management fees, which includes $90,000 to company chairman Izzy Borovich. His $90,000 in turn includes the salary of a personal assistant. The remaining $50,000 represents Knafaim's monthly consultation fee.
FORCED by economic constraints to cut its budget,, the Foreign Ministry in October 1999 decided to suspend publication of its cultural affairs magazine Ariel, which had been distributed worldwide in six languages. The magazine was subsequently given a reprieve,...