(JTA) Ariel Sharon underwent emergency surgery. Saturday's operation, in which a section of the comatose Israeli prime minister's large intestine was removed, was ordered after a CT scan revealed serious damage to his digestive system. Doctors initially said Sharon might not survive the procedure, but when it ended he was said to be in serious but stable condition. But the episode underscored public concern that Sharon may never return to full consciousness. Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert assumed Sharon's powers shortly after he was hospitalized with a stroke last month and, at the head of the centrist Kadima Party, is expected to win the March 28 general elections in Israel.

(JTA) Pro-Israel groups are reportedly lobbying for an Oscar-nominated film about Palestinian suicide bombers not to be presented as coming from "Palestine." The Israeli Consulate in Los Angeles and local Jewish groups have received assurances from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences that "Paradise Now," a candidate in the best foreign film category, will be given a different national provenance in time for next month's awards ceremony. "The consulate had asked the academy members to conduct themselves with sensitivity on the matter, given that the Palestinian Authority has yet to be declared a state." The Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem declined comment, and there was no immediate confirmation from the academy, whose Web site still lists the film as coming from "Palestine." Its director and leading actors are Israeli Arabs, and its funding came mainly from Europe.

Israel has shipped 100 million flowers over the last two weeks to Europe and the USA for Valentine's Day sales, according to Globes.

Newsday.com reports on Dmitriy Salita, the unbeaten Jewish boxer who refuses to fight on Shabbat.

(JTA) U.S. figure skater Emily Hughes will be competing at the Winter Olympics, after Michelle Kwan withdrew due to injury. Hughes, who is Jewish, was originally named as an alternate to the team competing in the Turin Games. Her sister Sarah won a gold in figure skating at the 2002 Games.

(JTA) Israel is issuing a stamp honoring the Chabad-Lubavitch movement. The stamp features an artist's rendering of concentric waves of light emanating from the Chasidic group's Brooklyn headquarters. The three Hebrew words for wisdom, understanding and knowledge that make up the acronym for Chabad are on the stamp over the building. The stamp is slated to go on sale Feb. 28.


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