Mideast Report

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli police this week briefly detained five members of a grassroots settlers movement on suspicion of incitement and distributing illegal documents.

Police issued the detention orders Monday, after searching the homes of the five men, all of whom belonged to Zo Artzeinu, or This is Our Land, a group that organized recent countrywide protests against Israel's ongoing negotiations with the Palestinians.

The five, who included Zo Artzeinu leaders Moshe Feiglin and Shmuel Sacket, were released on bail.

Police Minister Moshe Shahal said security forces were acting under instructions from Attorney General Michael Ben-Yair, who called on them to investigate whether the movement was breaking the law.

Shahal also said he saw no need to ban the group, which he described as a "very extreme, but very weak organization."

But, he added, "they are certainly preaching for acts against the law."

Israeli man critically wounded in stabbing

JERUSALEM (JTA) — An Israeli was seriously wounded in a stabbing attack in Jerusalem's Old City Sunday.

Witnesses reported that an argument broke out between Avraham Yasdi, 40, and two young Arab men.

The two Arabs fled after Yasdi was stabbed. Police detained dozens of Arabs in connection to the stabbing.

The victim reportedly is a known substance abuser and police are not ruling out criminal motives in the attack. Police also said they have not ruled out the possibility that it was a terrorist act.

Yasdi was taken to Hadassah Hospital in Ein Kerem, where he was listed in critical condition and underwent emergency surgery.

El Al walking on air after setting record

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel's El Al Airlines has set a record for the shortest flight from Los Angeles to Tel Aviv.

The direct flight for the fully booked new jumbo jet took 12 hours and 19 minutes.

Flight controllers offered encouragement and suggestions to save time along the way, flight attendant Yehuda Levran told Israel Radio.

Israeli Soviet spy requests freedom

JERUSALEM (JTA) — An Israeli convicted of spying for the former Soviet Union has asked Israel's Supreme Court to free him for health reasons.

Chief Justice Aharon Barak opened the hearing last week to the media for the first time, at the request of 76-year-old Marcus Klingberg.

Klingberg has served 13 years of an 18-year sentence.

His attorney asked that the remainder of his sentence be commuted due to failing health.

The representative for the state was opposed to the early release, saying that Klingberg could still reveal information that would be harmful to Israel's security.

1,300 survivors now in psychiatric wards

JERUSALEM (JPS) — Some 1,300 Holocaust survivors are institutionalized in Israeli psychiatric hospitals, and 1,000 of them have been there at least a year.

This was disclosed last week by Health Minister Ephraim Sneh, who attended the cornerstone-laying ceremony at the site of a new hostel for troubled survivors.

The hostel to be built at the Be'er Ya'acov Psychiatric Hospital will have 100 beds for Holocaust survivors.

Israeli cost of living increases 1.2 percent

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The cost of living in Israel has risen by 1.2 percent, the highest index for the month of August in four years, the Central Bureau of Statistics announced.

Housing costs were the main factor for the rise — prices went up in August by 2.9 percent and were responsible for 0.7 percent of the index's rise.