Mideast Report

JERUSALEM (JPS) — A terrorist stabbed a soldier in the back in Afula Sunday, and was then caught by an off-duty policeman.

The soldier, Eliahu Azulai, of Afula, was lightly to moderately wounded and taken in the car of a passerby to Ha'emek Hospital.

Police said a 17-year-old from Yamoun, near Jenin, approached Azulai from behind and stabbed him in the back.

The terrorist then tried to flee, but an off-duty policeman, Meir Cohen, happened to be in the area. He chased and caught the attacker.

The same day a 16-year-old Palestinian teenager was shot in the back and stomach near Nablus. Early reports said a Jewish settler opened fire on a crowd of Palestinians.

Also Sunday, two Israeli soldiers were lightly wounded by mortar fire in the eastern sector of the security zone in southern Lebanon.

Islamic Jihad figures arrested in Gaza area

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli security forces caught a wanted member of Islamic Jihad at the Rafah Crossing separating the Gaza Strip from Egypt.

The man, arrested Sunday as he was trying to flee to Egypt, was reportedly suspected of involvement in the Beit Lid and Kfar Darom terrorist attacks last year. At least 27 people, including American student Alisa Flatow of New Jersey, were killed in the attacks.

On Saturday of last week the Palestinian police arrested two other members of the fundamentalist group in the Shati refugee camp in the Gaza Strip.

The two arrests were made shortly after Palestinian police killed two members of the Islamic Jihad in a shootout in the camp.

The two were also wanted by Israel for involvement in the Beit Lid attack.

During Sunday's funeral for the two, followers of Islamic Jihad, which violently opposes the Israeli-Palestinian accords, vowed to kill Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

Citibank opens office in Tel Aviv

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Citibank opened an office this week in Tel Aviv, becoming the first U.S. commercial bank with a presence in Israel.

Citibank Vice Chairman William Rhodes, who was on hand for the opening, said it took place as a result of the growing stability in the region.

"Citibank's arrival in Israel reflects a recognition of both the improvement in the macroeconomic conditions and the growing regional stability and business opportunities unfolding from the peace process," he said.

Citibank already has branches throughout the Middle East.

Famous Cafe Atara becoming Pizza Hut

JERUSALEM (JTA) — After nearly six decades of providing artists, writers, politicians and tourists with a romantic hangout, Jerusalem's Cafe Atara is closing its doors.

The landmark cafe on Jerusalem's Ben Yehuda pedestrian mall has been bought by Pizza Hut, an American fast-food chain.

Cafe Atara was founded in 1938 by Heinz Greenspan, who fled the Nazis during the Holocaust.

In British-ruled Palestine the cafe became a hangout for British officers, Palestinians and members of the rival Haganah and Irgun militias.

The cafe's art deco green and white interior was frequented by such notables as Moshe Dayan and Nobel Prize-winning author S.Y. Agnon and was featured in a scene in novelist Amos Oz's "My Michael."

A Palestinian car bomb in the early 1970s blew out its windows and killed the manager.

Palestinian believed to be Iranian spy

JERUSALEM (JPS) — Israeli security forces last week arrested and deported a Palestinian from the West Bank on suspicion of spying for Iran.

Mohammed Rajab Salameh Mohammed, 44, was accused Wednesday of last week of providing Iran with maps on which he marked security installations and government offices.

Mohammed, who is from the village of Beit Jala, near Bethlehem, has a doctorate in philosophy from Beirut University. He has also lived in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan.

Mohammed confessed that he was recruited a year ago to work for Iranian intelligence by the Iranian Embassy in Jordan, according to an Israel Defense Force statement.

Mohammed said he had agreed to gather information in Jordan. He was instructed to photograph different sites in Israel.

In August, an Israeli court charged an Iranian-born Israeli, Herzl Rad, with spying for Tehran. Rad denied the allegations. Proceedings against him are still under way.