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Government Seeks Private Takeover of El Al Airline

The government has begun secret negotiations with groups of Jewish businessmen in Israel and abroad for their possible purchase of El Al, the State-owned national air carrier, it was reported here today.

A meeting of the El Al board of directors was to have taken place here today, reportedly to recommend to the government and stockholders that the airline be placed in voluntary receivership. The meeting was postponed after several score airline employees broke into the board room. El Al management suspended operations last month and has been chartering foreign aircraft to carry ticket holders. The suspension was triggered by a wildcat strike of flight attendants.

But the company has been in serious financial difficulties for years, aggravated by periodic labor strife. It faced further losses when the government yielded to Aguda Israel demands to abandon flights on the Sabbath and Jewish holidays.

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