Shorts: Mideast

U.S. bomb victim comes out of coma

jerusalem (ap) | A 16-year-old American tourist, critically wounded in last week’s suicide bombing in Tel Aviv, woke up Tuesday, April 25 from a nine-day coma.

Daniel Wultz, a high school student from Weston, Fla., was in Israel with his parents to visit relatives during Passover. He and his Israeli-born father, Tuly, were having lunch near Tel Aviv’s central bus station April 17, when a Palestinian suicide bomber ignited 10 pounds of explosives at the entrance of a falafel restaurant. The bomb killed nine people and wounded dozens.

According to a Tel Aviv hospital spokeswoman, Wultz likely will recover from his injuries, though his condition remains critical.

Haniyeh has three sisters in Israel

jerusalem (ynetnews) | The Palestinian Authority’s Hamas prime minister has three sisters in Israel.

Three of Ismail Haniyeh’s sisters are married to Israeli Arabs and live in the Negev town of Tel Sheva. The women enjoy Israeli residency status and used to receive regular visits from Haniyeh, who lives in the nearby Gaza Strip.

Because of Haniyeh’s involvement in Hamas, however, he has been banned from entering the Jewish state for years.

Israel on high alert after Sinai blasts

jerusalem (jta) | Israeli security forces were on highest alert following the explosions at a Sinai beach resort area.

The Monday, April 24 attack in Dahab, which appears to have been engineered by al Qaida operatives, killed at least 24 people, including a German child. Among more than 60 injuries, there were at least three wounded Israelis, the Jerusalem Post reported.

After the bombing the Israel Defense Forces closed off the Taba crossing, preventing vehicles from entering Sinai. Egyptian police have arrested 10 suspects in connection with the attack.

Israeli satellite is launched

jerusalem (jta) | Israel launched a new satellite that will heighten its ability to monitor Iran.

The Eros-B was launched this week from a Russian missile base in Siberia, and is expected to be in working orbit by the weekend. It is designed to give the Israeli military an extra eye on the Middle East, especially arch-foe Iran. The Eros-B offers an all-weather camera with enhanced resolution that can pick up items on the ground as small as two feet in diameter.

Israeli efforts to monitor Iran suffered a setback last year when a rocket taking the Ofek-6 spy satellite into orbit crashed on takeoff.

Report: Israel hotels overcharging

tel aviv (jta) | Several leading Israeli hotels overcharge foreign guests, according to a newspaper exposé.

Yediot Achronot reported that foreign guests at major resort hotels in Eilat and Tel Aviv are routinely charged as much as 80 percent more than Israelis.

One hotel owner quoted by the investigative report attributed the price difference to surcharges demanded by tourist agencies abroad that handle reservations.

Responding to the report, the Tourism Ministry said it would consider excluding from its promotional campaigns hotels proven to have overcharged guests. The Israel Hoteliers Association declined comment pending its own probe.

Study: Survivors at increased cancer risk

new york (jta) | Holocaust survivors in Israel have a higher death rate from cancer than contemporaries who moved to Israel before World War II, a new study found.

According to a University of Haifa study, the younger a survivor was during the war, the higher the risk that he or she will develop cancer. Also, cancer survival rates are lower among survivors than among those who didn’t go through the Holocaust.

“The difficult conditions, and mostly the caloric limitations and lack of nutritional components, which the Holocaust survivors suffered from during the war years are likely to be among the main causes of the findings,” said Dr. Micah Bracha, director of the National Cancer Registry in Israel’s Health Ministry.

Conservative Jews in Israel sue

jerusalem (jta) | The Israeli wing of Conservative Judaism filed a lawsuit against the Israeli government, claiming discrimination in praying at the Western Wall.

The lawsuit filed this week follows an agreement between the movement and the government that assured its members freedom of worship at the Robinson’s Arch area at the southern end of the Western Wall, which is separate from the nearby traditional site of Jewish prayer.

During the past year, officials with the movement say, they have been told they have to pay an entrance fee of 30 shekels to the tourist center that runs the site in order to pray.