Mideast Report

TEL AVIV (JPS) — Judge Uri Goren said this week he would wait until July 12 to rule whether the detention of Mustafa Dirani and Sheikh Abdel-Karim Obeid should be extended because they pose a danger to the state.

Defense attorneys said that argument was invented by the state following an Israeli Supreme Court ruling in April that Lebanese citizens cannot be held as bargaining chips.

Prime Minister Ehud Barak and others, however, feel that a release would be a security risk. Dirani is the former Amal security chief and Obeid is the former Hezbollah religious leader in southern Lebanon. They have both been held since 1986 and were scheduled for possible release in mid-June.

Sweden peace talks to move to Mideast

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Talks between Israel and the Palestinians will soon move from Sweden to the Middle East, Israel Radio quoted sources in Jerusalem as saying.

The two sides were due to resume the talks almost two weeks after the Israeli representatives were ordered home because of Palestinian violence in the territories.

More Ethiopians to emigrate to Israel

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Jewish Agency for Israel on Tuesday flew 100 Falash Mura from Ethiopia to Israel.

Officials say the group is the first in a wave of some 5,000 to 6,000 people who will soon be flown to Israel. Thousands of Falash Mura, Ethiopians whose ancestors converted from Judaism to Christianity, have amassed in transit camps in Ethiopia hoping to emigrate to the Jewish state.

The group was the first to arrive since Interior Minister Natan Sharansky visited Ethiopia last month to assess the situation.

In a related development, the Israeli government and the Jewish Agency announced the allocation of about $240,000 for extra staff people to process some 5,000 to 6,000 additional Ethiopian emigres.

Ethiopian emigre receives doctorate

JERUSALEM (JTA) — An Ethiopian Jew who immigrated to Israel 10 years ago is the first emigre from that country to have received a doctoral degree in the Jewish state.

Anbessa Teferra was one of 238 doctoral recipients at a ceremony last Sunday at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Settlers to Barak: heed our warning

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak risks being assassinated if he uproots Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, a leader of a settler group warned.

If Barak carries "out this dangerous plan, his days could be numbered," Shlomo Riklin said in a radio interview. Riklin is a leader of Second Generation, a group of young settlers who have set up outposts on West Bank hilltops to prevent land transfers to the Palestinians.

Haredim accused of synagogue blaze

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Conservative movement is blaming fervently religious Jews for attempting to burn down the front door of a Conservative synagogue in Jerusalem.

"It is inconceivable to think of such desecration being perpetrated by Jews in the Jewish homeland," Conservative officials said.

Last year the Ya'ar Ramot Synagogue, in an area with a large fervently religious population, was sprayed with graffiti promising to "turn your Purim into Tisha B'Av."