Shorts: Mideast

Vote for Jerusalem in Monopoly contest

Hasbro, the maker of Monopoly, is holding an online contest to determine which 22 worldwide cities will be featured in the game’s 75th anniversary edition.

The list of competing cities includes Jerusalem.

Voters are allowed to play the contest once a day; they must create a free Hasbro profile in order to cast votes.

The contest continues through Feb. 28, and can be accessed at

Rabbi wins top prize for Talmud work

Rabbi David Weiss Halivni won the Israel Prize this week.

Halivni, who made aliyah in 2005, was recognized for writing a seven-volume commentary on the Talmud. He teaches at Bar-Ilan University and Hebrew Univer-sity, and was a professor for many years at Columbia Univer-sity in New York.

The Israel Prize, the highest honor in Israel, will be officially awarded on Israel Independence Day, observed this year May 8. — jta

Same-sex couples can adopt in Israel

Attorney General Menachem Mazuz announced last week that same-sex couples in Israel will be extended the same adoption rights as heterosexual couples.

Gay men and women previously were allowed to adopt only if the child in question was the partner’s biological offspring.

“It was decided that there is no legal hindrance to allowing same-sex couples, or one of the partners, to adopt an unrelated child who is not the child of either partner,” a Justice Ministry statement said.

The ministry added that adoptions would still be subject to the approval of Israel’s social services. — jta

Tunisian Israelis prevail in court

Tunisian-born Israeli Jews who suffered under Nazi occupation have won a five-year court battle to be paid the same Israeli government stipends as European survivors of the Holocaust.

David Etzion, an attorney acting for 19 claimants, said the recent ruling meant that approximately 20,000 Tunisian Jews who immigrated to Israel are entitled to claim the monthly benefits, which average about $330.

German troops occupied Tunisia in November 1942. According to Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial, about 5,000 Jews there were subjected to forced labor, and 20 Jewish activists were killed. — ap

Palestinian population grows 30 percent

The Palestinian population in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem has grown 30 percent over the past decade, a census found.

The Palestinian Authority’s Central Bureau of Statistics, having completed its first census in a decade, announced last week that the Palestinian population stands at 3.76 million, up from 2.89 million in 1997.

Israeli demographers in the past have accused Palestinian census takers of inflating population figures for the sake of political gain. — jta

Electric shocks used to scare off boars

Israel’s military is using electric shocks to keep wild boars from setting off false alarms at its supersensitive electronic fence along the border with Lebanon.

The animals, common in northern Israel and southern Lebanon, often bump into the fence, setting off alarms of a possible infiltration by Lebanese guerrillas and dispatching soldiers to check for a breach.

So soldiers strung barbed wire hooked up to a power generator along the fence. Animals touching the charged wire get a small electric shock — harmless but irritating. — ap