Israeli president suffering infection

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Weizman, who is 75, underwent tests all day Tuesday after being admitted to the hospital in the morning.

Shmuel Shapira, deputy director of Hadassah, said the president would receive conservative treatment for the inflammation and that a decision on whether to operate would be made after observation.

A CT scan reportedly revealed stones in Weizman's gallbladder that have to be removed.

Northern Israelis are sent to shelters

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Residents of northern Israel were instructed Wednesday to head to bomb shelters.

The warning was issued after two Lebanese civilians were killed in Israeli shelling of southern Lebanon. Hezbollah has pledged to fire rockets on northern Israel in retaliation for any civilian casualties.

Israeli couple likely victims of terrorism

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The military wing of Hamas has claimed responsibility for the murder of an Israeli couple earlier this week at a nature reserve near the West Bank.

The bodies of Yehiel Fuenfter, 26, and Sharon Steinmetz, 21, were found Monday in the Megiddo Forest in northern Israel one day after they had been murdered.

Prime Minister Ehud Barak expressed shock at the "despicable murders." Other Israeli officials said it was unclear whether the incident would have any effect on Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

Israel agrees to aid Maccabi victims

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel agreed Tuesday to help compensate Australian athletes who were injured in a bridge collapse two years ago at the start of the Maccabi Games in Ramat Gan.

The Finance Ministry, which did not indicate the size of the payments, added that the move "does not mean the state admits responsibility for the disaster." Four Australian athletes died and 70 others were injured in the July 1997 tragedy.

Israeli military court convicts terrorist

JERUSALEM (JTA) — An Israeli military court has convicted a Hamas terrorist of involvement in two suicide bomb attacks in Jerusalem in 1997.

The prosecutor in the case asked the court Monday to sentence Ahmer El-Zibben of Nablus to 21 consecutive life sentences, one for each of the victims killed in the Mahane Yehuda market and Ben Yehuda pedestrian mall attacks.

Vandals desecrate cemetery in Hebron

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Garbage and broken bottles were strewn at the entrance to the Ashkenazi cemetery in Hebron last week in what Jewish settlers claimed is the latest desecration of the site by Palestinians.

The cemetery is located in an area adjacent to the Palestinian-ruled part of the West Bank town. It is the burial site of the granddaughter of the founder of the Chabad movement.

Jewish community leaders in Hebron said they have repeatedly requested round-the-clock Israeli presence at the cemetery to prevent vandalism.

Mossad appoints a PR representative

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel's Mossad has appointed a public relations director for the first time.

The recent move comes as the Mossad continues a trend of pulling away the veil of secrecy that has shrouded the agency in the past.

According to the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz, Mossad chief Ephraim Halevy said a policy of authorized contact with the media would hopefully stem leaks that "could cause irreversible damage" to Israeli national security.