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Ehud Olmert’s disclosure that he has prostate cancer improved his approval ratings.

A poll commissioned by Yediot Achronot after Olmert’s announcement Monday found that 41 percent of Israelis “appreciate” his performance as prime minister, up from 35 percent last month.

Olmert, whose popularity plummeted after last year’s Lebanon war and amid ongoing corruption allegations, also earned high marks in the survey for his “bravery” in coming forward, an act that 61 percent of respondents said they found moving.

Eighty-seven percent of respondents agreed with Olmert’s decision to stay in office. But asked who among Olmert, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu is most fit to be prime minister, 14 percent said Olmert, 17 percent said Barak and 35 percent said Netanyahu.

Yediot did not say how many people were polled. The margin of error was 4.3 percent.

An Israeli film took the top prize at a Kiev film festival.

“The Band’s Visit” received the Grand Prix and $10,000 at the 37th Molodist (“Youth”) International Film Festival on Sunday.

It was the first feature-length film by 34-year-old Israeli filmmaker Eran Kolirin.

The whimsical tale, which has won other awards, follows the iconoclastic adventures of a band of Egyptian musicians who are lost in a small town in Israel’s Negev Desert.

Ukrainian President Viktor Yuschenko participated in the festival’s opening.

A lawyer active for years in the American Jewish Congress has been named general counsel for the U.S. House of Representatives.

Irv Nathan was named to the post by Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), the House speaker. “Irv Nathan has an outstanding reputation and record of accomplishment in private practice and in government service,” Pelosi said last week in announcing the appointment, which will take effect in November. Nathan, like Pelosi a Baltimore native, is a past member of the AJCongress’ executive committee and has litigated church-state issues on the group’s behalf.

In the 1990s he chaired an AJCongress task force on terrorism and the law. Nathan currently is a top litigator for the law firm of Arnold & Porter, and also has served in senior Justice Department positions. As general counsel, Nathan will take the lead role in congressional battles with the Bush administration over access to records and witnesses related to a number of cases.

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