The Top 8 Headlines You Might Have Missed / Haaretz Newsline, May 8

From British physicist Stephen Hawking canceling his participation in an Israeli academic conference, to Israel Police collecting 1,000 DNA samples of African migrants, check out the top 8 headlines you might have missed.

The Israeli government's spending to encourage conversion to Judaism has increased steadily from year to year while the number of people who actually converted declined “significantly” from 2007 to 2011, according to a new state comptroller’s report.

World-renowned British physicist Stephen Hawking canceled plans to attend a major international conference in Israel in June, citing his belief that he should respect a Palestinian call to boycott contacts with Israeli academics.

Israel's Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein dropped a bomb in the realm of Haredi-secular relations on Wednesday, when he instructed government ministers in a sharply-worded statement to immediately stop the exclusion of women in the areas under their authority.

Israel Police detained the top Muslim cleric Mufti Mohammed Hussein in the Palestinian territories on Wednesday, and are holding him for questioning over recent disturbances at a Jerusalem site holy to both Islam and Judaism.

Police have collected about 1,000 DNA samples of African migrants who crossed into Israel since the beginning of 2012 and continue to collect samples from those entering Israel through Egypt, Commander Eran Kamin of the Investigations Division told a Knesset committee Tuesday.

Meretz MK Nitzan Horowitz held his first meeting with supporters on Tuesday night since declaring his candidacy for Tel Aviv mayor, telling them at a local bar that the incumbent, Ron Huldai, did not represent the interests of the young, the old, small businesspeople or the middle-class.

The treasury’s efforts to rein in the deficit will not spare the health system, and the public will probably have to pay more for doctor and emergency room visits and medical equipment, according to a draft budget being discussed Tuesday. If it passes, Israelis may also suffer reductions in their supplemental health insurance coverage, and will not see any new drugs or technologies added to the state-subsidized health basket this year.

In a city where Muslims and Jews do not tend to overlap socially, the party at the American Islamic Congress Cultural Center on Boston’s tony Newbury Street, just a few blocks from the finish line of the Boston Marathon, was a rare moment for the two groups to talk and connect.