Shorts: Mideast

Poll: Majority of Israelis support legal prostitution

jerusalem (jps) | A majority of Israelis support the idea of a government-controlled prostitution industry, according to a public opinion poll.

The poll, conducted by Dr. Mina Tzemach, was presented to the Knesset this week. In the past, Israeli lawmakers from across the political spectrum have opposed legalizing prostitution.

Out of the 500 people surveyed, 65 percent agreed that prostitution should come under public health supervision and require a license.

Muslim places first at Maccabiah Games

jerusalem (jta) | An Iranian-born Muslim wrestler won a Maccabiah Games medal after he entered the Jewish sports competition through a series of errors.

Mohammad Babulfath, who holds Swedish citizenship, took first place in his weight class last week in Greco-Roman wrestling. Babulfath arrived at the Maccabiah not knowing that it is open only to Jews and Israelis.

The confusion apparently began after an Israeli wrestling official posted an open invitation to the quadrennial “Jewish Olympics” on an international wrestling Web site, without explaining the restrictions, according to the Jerusalem Post.

Israel tallies Palestinian attacks

jerusalem (jta) | Palestinian terrorists have carried out 25,000 attacks over the past five years, Israel’s security chief said.

Yuval Diskin, director of the Shin Bet, delivered the data as part of a Knesset discussion this week on whether to maintain restrictions on Palestinian entry to Israel.

Since fighting erupted in September 2000, Diskin said, 1,048 Israelis have been killed and more than 5,600 wounded by Palestinian attacks. According to the security chief, the death of Yasser Arafat and his succession by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas brought a temporary improvement.

Ancient scroll found in desert?

jerusalem (jta) | An Israeli archeologist claims to have made the most important biblical find in the Judean Desert in 40 years.

Professor Chanan Eshel of Bar-Ilan University announced this month that he had discovered two fragments of a nearly 2,000-year-old parchment scroll in the Dead Sea area.

If authenticated, it would be the first such find in the area since 1965. The two small pieces of animal skin, which carried Hebrew verses from Leviticus, have been passed to Israel’s Antiquities Authority for authentication.