I was having trouble figuring this thread out when it finally dawned on me the original post was over a year ago. So, to recap what happened:
El Al ordered 3 777-200ERs with Trent 895 engines on Dec. 14, 1999.
On Dec. 15, Air Algerie ordered 2 additional 737-600s. Their original order consisted of 7 737-800s and 3 737-600s. Now the -600s equal 5.
A temple in the sky is not silly at all. However, it is also not an Airbus exclusive. The 747-400s and 777-200ERs in Saudia's fleet all contain a small mosque. When the El Al 777s are delivered next year, whether or not they have a small temple will be El Al's choice, not because Boeing wouldn't put one in. As far as a A340 vs. 777 goes, I think the 777 will do just as well for El Al as the A340 would. ETOPS is a non-issue, as anything from Israel is going to be withing 180 ETOPS, something El Al already has with their 767-200ER fleet. The only time ETOPS becomes an issue is over the Pacific and around the Southern Hemisphere (S. America to S. Africa to Australia to S. America). This is not an area El Al is going to be flying, at least not directly. While the A340 is certainly more fuel effecient, which is definitely a bonus with today's oil prices, the 777 is equal if not better in overall operating efficiency. And as far as the cargo goes, the 777 only carries 1 less container, but also carries more passengers. This business about the A340/A330 being profitable with only cargo on board is bulls***. I have never heard that anywhere but on this forum by fanatically pro-Airbus people. It's unfortunate that you have been fooled by this ploy, as you have always seemed an intelligent poster.
Honor the warriors, not the war.