Israeli PM Ariel Sharon Suffers Significant Stroke
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has had a second stroke in less than a month, this one termed “significant.”
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon suffered a “significant” stroke Wednesday, a hospital official said, after Sharon was taken to the hospital from his ranch in the Negev desert. Dr. Shlomo Mor-Yosef said Sharon is under general anesthetic and is receiving breathing assistance as his condition is assessed. Cabinet Secretary Yisrael Maimon said Sharon’s authorities have been transferred to his vice premier, Olmert.
Channel 2 TV said Sharon was suffering from paralysis in his lower body. Analysts on Israeli TV stations said he life could be in danger. Channel 2 TV said he was taken into the hospital on a stretcher.
Sharon, 77, is extremely overweight, but doctors checking him after the mild stroke Dec. 18 found him otherwise in good health. Since then, his doctors said in a briefing a week ago, Sharon has lost several pounds.
The dramatic downturn in Sharon’s health comes as Sharon runs for re-election on March 28 at the head of a new centrist party, Kadima, and he enjoys a wide lead in the polls. The party’s strength is centered on Sharon himself, and if he were forced to leave the scene. Israel’s political scene would be thrown into turmoil.
A shame. While I’m not a Sharon fan, he has faced an almost impossible challenge in trying to achieve a peaceful settlement with the Palestinians.
This is almost certainly the end of his political career, though. There were already questions about his health and this would surely give many people reason to think he is no longer up to one of the more taxing jobs on the planet.