Mideast rReport

GENEVA (JTA) — The World Meteorological Organization altered its list of names for this summer's typhoons and hurricanes, changing the name of Hurricane Israel to Hurricane Ivo.

The move came after the Jerusalem Post reported last month that the Geneva-based U.N. agency was planning to use the name "Israel." That immediately generated protests to the U.N. agency.

Banquet hall owner found dead, cops say

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Local police say the owner of an Israeli banquet hall hanged himself several hours after his operating license was revoked for failure to meet safety regulations.

The incident comes against a backdrop of stepped-up activities by local authorities to enforce building codes and regulations following a Jerusalem wedding hall collapse in which 23 people were killed.

Polls shows majority in favor of restraint

JERUSALEM (JTA) — A majority of Israelis think their military should maintain a policy of restraint, in hopes that it will lead to a lasting cease-fire with the Palestinians, a new poll shows.

The Gallup Poll was published in the Ma'ariv newspaper before this week's agreement on the U.S. plan. It found that 59 percent of Israelis believe Israel should keep up its side of a fragile cease-fire declared by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon several weeks ago and matched by the Palestinian Authority last weekend.

33% of W. Bank teens say they want out

JERUSALEM (JTA) — One-third of Jewish teenagers living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip want to leave because of the security situation, according to a study to be released Monday in a journal published by Israel's teachers union.

The Israeli daily newspaper Ha'aretz reported that the survey of some 1,000 youths ages 14 to 18 found there were high levels of anxiety among the respondents because of the violence they encounter daily.

Mubarak mimic angers Egyptians

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Egyptian officials summoned Israel's ambassador to Egypt, Zvi Mazel, for discussions after an Israeli comedian's impersonation of President Hosni Mubarak.

Eli Yatzpan said he bears no ill will against Mubarak. Yatzpan also has imitated Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat as part of his routines.

Hashish substance aids arthritis, study says

JERUSALEM (JTA) — A substance derived from hashish can be especially effective as an anti-inflammatory drug for treating rheumatoid arthritis, a doctoral student at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem maintains.

For her work with hashish as a therapeutic agent, Susanna Tchilibon, a 32-year-old immigrant from Italy, was named a winner of this year's Kaye Prizes for Innovations and Inventions at the university.

Kin of disco victims to get $750 payment

JERUSALEM (JTA) — An Israeli parliamentary committee this week approved payment of approximately $750 each to the families of the victims in a suicide bombing attack at a Tel Aviv disco earlier this month.

Twenty Israelis were killed in the attack, most of them young immigrants from the former Soviet Union.

Israel OKs reducing U.S. soldiers on Sinai

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel accepted an American proposal to reduce the U.S. peacekeeping force on the Sinai Peninsula, according to the Israeli ambassador to the United States.

David Ivry said it is important for the United States to maintain a presence in the Sinai, but added that Israeli officials understand the U.S. desire to minimize its force.

Bombers spread hepatitis B, tests show

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Palestinian suicide bombers who carried out attacks in Tel Aviv and Netanya were both infected with hepatitis B, according to forensic testing of the bombers' remains.

Several people wounded in the Netanya attack are now being treated for hepatitis because they came in contact with fragments of the bomber's body. No victims from the Tel Aviv attack were reported to be affected.

248,000 foreigners replace Arab workers

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The number of foreign workers in Israel jumped by 45 percent since the Palestinian uprising began last September, an Israeli official told Reuters.

The official said June 7 that the number of foreign workers increased by 76,000, for a total of 248,000. The workers replaced Palestinian laborers barred from Israel since the violence began.