Mideast Report

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Three Israelis have been convicted for throwing a cake in a Cabinet Minister's face. In a plea bargain, the three admitted to conspiracy to commit a crime and to attacking a public official. The three threw a cake in Communication Minister Reuven Rivlin's face last July in the Knesset. Prosecutors are asking the court to sentence each of the three to six months' community service.

Israel intercepts plane not responding to calls

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli jets intercepted a German passenger plane approaching Tel Aviv when it failed to respond to calls from ground controllers. A spokesman for the Israel Airports Authority denied reports that officials feared the plane had been hijacked and was about to crash into a Tel Aviv skyscraper.

The pilot of the passenger plane had his radio tuned to a Cypriot frequency, so he did not hear the call from Israeli ground controllers, the spokesman said. When two Israeli fighter jets came up beside him, however, the pilot switched frequency and made contact with Ben-Gurion Airport.

El Al president resigns in dispute

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The president of El Al airlines has resigned after 15 months on the job. David Hermesh quit Feb. 20, citing "substantial professional differences" with the airline's chairman, Michael Levy.

Among the points of dispute between the two was a strategy for rehabilitating the airline.

New radio spots promote reserve duty

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel's Army Radio began running spots promoting reserve duty. The announcements include testimonials from Israelis calling on fellow citizens to volunteer for reserve duty, even if they are no longer obliged to.

The Israeli daily Ma'ariv quoted army sources as saying the ads are aimed at boosting morale and do not reflect problems in calling up reservists. The paper reported that despite a petition campaign by reservists opposed to serving in the territories, a growing number of people have volunteered for duty in recent weeks as a show of support for the country.