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Shimon Peres seriously ill after massive stroke

  • Shimon Peres2
Iconic Israeli statesman Shimon Peres remained in serious but stable condition on Wednesday morning after suffering a severe stroke the night before, said Sheba Medical Centre in Tel Hashomer Director, Prof Itsik Reiss.
by JTA STAFF | Sep 14, 2016

“The ninth president of the State of Israel... is being treated by the best doctors in the hospital from across the medical fields. He underwent a number of scans and is currently sedated and intubated,” said Reiss.

"He is in intensive care and we are monitoring him constantly. In the coming hours we will conduct further examinations and will update regarding his condition,” Reiss noted.

A later unconfirmed Twitter comment noted “a slight improvement” in the 93-year-old’s condition.

Reiss said that doctors had opted not to perform surgery on Peres at the moment.

It was learned late on Tuesday that he suffered from a haemorrhagic stroke, which occurs when a weakened blood vessel ruptures (usually caused by uncontrolled hypertension).

Prof Reiss said that Peres, in the intensive care unit, had suffered “lots of bleeding”.

The veteran politician had just last week undergone placement of a cardiac pacemaker at the hospital and was discharged in good condition.

Ayelet Frish, the former president’s communications consultant, said on Tuesday that Peres had woken up with “palpitations and a feeling of constriction in his chest”.

Walden, who is a leading surgeon, deputy director of Sheba Medical Centre and is also Peres’ son-in-law, took him to hospital after hearing of his father-in-law’s complaints. It is unknown whether there was any connection between the insertion of the pacemaker - to ensure a regular heartbeat - and the stroke.

Peres' personal physician, Prof Rafi Walden, said that during the night Peres had been responsive and held family members’ hands.

 Shortly after, Peres’ son Chemi asked people to pray for his father as he spoke to reporters outside the hospital.

"These are difficult hours for me and my family... There will come a time when we will need to take some decisions. Everything is dependent on how things develop and we don’t know more than that at present."

He added: "The family are all gathering at the hospital and we will continue to update. We are receiving a huge number of messages from Israel and abroad from all our friends who are surrounding us with love and care. I want to tell them all that there was nothing more important to my father than Israel and its people.

“My father is one of a kind, I am praying for him and ask all those that pray to continue to pray with us. We thank everyone for your love and care.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wrote on Twitter that he and the entire people of Israel love him and hope he has a complete recovery.

Messages also came in from opposition leader Isaac Herzog and President Reuven Rivlin.

The longest serving of all of Israel’s public servants, Peres completed his seven-year term of office as Israel’s president just two weeks shy of his 91st birthday.

Born in Wiszniewo, Poland, he was one of the founders of the Labour-Zionist Youth Movement and a member of the Hagana during the pre-state period. He became director-general of the Defence Ministry at age 29 and was a member of the Knesset from 1959 to 2007.

He served in different political parties, namely Mapai, Rafi, the Alignment, Labour and Kadima.

Peres spent a long period as Labour Party chairman, and held a string of government roles including two non-consecutive stints as prime minister, and over the years he was minister of Immigrant Absorption, Transportation, Information, Defence, Communications, (or Posts and Telegraphs as it was known then), Internal Affairs, Religious Affairs, Foreign Affairs, Finance and Regional Co-operation.

He served in some of these positions more than once.

Peres is one of the architects of the Oslo Accords and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994. (JTA)

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