Shorts: Mideast

Singer shrieks over ‘Shrek 2’

jerusalem (jta) | Israeli cinemas were ordered to yank “Shrek 2” after a singer said it defamed him.

The original Hebrew dub of the animated movie had one character threaten to castrate another by saying, “Let’s do a David Daor on him,” a reference to an Israel singer with a high-pitched voice.

Tel Aviv District Court on July 12 found in favor of a claim by Daor that the line defamed him.

“This film intends to perpetuate an image of me as a eunuch, a man with no testicles, and turn me into a laughingstock,” he told Israel’s daily Yediot Achronot.

The court ordered the Hebrew film withdrawn from 20 cinemas and re-dubbed. It wasn’t clear what new translation the Israeli distributors of “Shrek 2” would use for the original English line — “Let’s Bobbitt him” — a reference to an American who was emasculated by his wife in 1993.

Foreign students returning to Israel

jerusalem (jta) | Two Israeli universities reported sharp rises in the number of foreign students in summer programs.

The University of Haifa announced a 76 percent increase over last year in enrollment for its two summer Hebrew-language programs, to 330 students this year, up from 187 last year.

At Jerusalem’s Hebrew University, 384 students have registered at the Rothberg International School, compared to 265 last year, an increase of 45 percent.

The figures, reported in the Jerusalem Post, are the highest since travel to Israel dropped dramatically after the start of the Palestinian intifada in the fall of 2000.

Israeli court OKs euthanasia

jerusalem (jta) | In a landmark ruling, an Israeli court approved a mercy killing.

Tel Aviv District Court on July 13 said a comatose 71-year-old man could be disconnected from life support at his wife’s request.

It was the first time euthanasia has been approved in Israel without the subject’s express consent. To allow the state to file a possible objection, the court asked the wife to hold off pulling the plug until July 15.

E.U. says it may cut aid to Israel

jerusalem (jta) | The European Union said it might cut aid to Israel if the Jewish state failed to engage in positive dialogue with the union.

E.U. “aid and support for Israel through different instruments has to go hand-in-hand with the political dialogue,” Dutch Foreign Minister Bernard Bot told reporters in Brussels on July 13.

Bot, whose country recently assumed the E.U.’s rotating presidency, added, “It takes two to tango,” and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon “has to be prepared to tango a bit with the European Union.”

Israel, for its part, considers E.U. diplomacy to have a decidedly pro-Palestinian bias. Bot’s comments come as Israel’s deputy prime minister, Ehud Olmert, holds talks with E.U. commissioners in Brussels.

The talks are expected to center on trade, particularly on a disagreement over the marking of Israeli exports produced in settlements in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.