Published by The Freeman Center

The Maccabean Online

Political Analysis and Commentary
on Israeli and Jewish Affairs

"For Zion's sake I shall not hold my peace, And for Jerusalem's sake I shall not rest."


By Herb Keinon and Gil Hoffman

Jerusalem Post - January 4, 2006Prime Minister Ariel Sharon will remain in an induced coma for at least 24 hours, Professor Shlomo Mor-Yosef, Director-General of Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem announced Thursday afternoon.

The prime minister\'s vital signs were still stable, following his second operation of the day.

"Sharon is under anesthesia and is being ventilated, at least for the next 24 hours," the hospital director said.

Mor-Yosef stressed that the prime minister was still alive, thereby refuting rumors that Sharon had passed away. He promised to notify the public were any changes to occur.

Sharon was transferred to the neuro-surgery intensive care unit following an operation that succeeded in halting cerebral hemmoraghing on Thursday morning. Mor-Yosef announced that a CAT scan had been done and showed ! that the surgery had halted the hemorrhaging and the prime minister\'s vital signs were stable; Sharon was still in very serious condition, however.

After a six-hour operation to stop cerebral hemorrhaging that continued for most of Wednesday night, the prime minister returned to the operating room early Thursday morning following a CAT scan that revealed additional areas of cerebral bleeding. Several of Sharon\'s advisors left the emergency room with what journalists described as "poker faces." When pressed for details on his condition, they refused to comment. Mor-Yosef explained that the prime minister was, of course, under general anesthesia and receiving artificial respiration during the procedure.

"The situation is serious," Mor-Yosef stated.

Sharon suffered a massive brain hemorrhage late Wednesday, which caused extensive cerebral bleeding.

Some doctors proffered an opinion that the proc! ess of stopping Sharon\'s brain hemorrhage was complicated by the blood thinners that the prime minister has been receiving twice daily since his first, minor, stroke some two weeks ago. Hadassah doctors neither confirmed nor denied this theory.

Justice Ministry spokesman Ya\'acov Galant said that a prime minister legally remains in his post only as long as he is capable of making decisions. Since Sharon is not conscious after suffering from what doctors termed "a serious stroke," his powers and prerogatives were transferred to his deputy, Finance Minister Ehud Olmert.

Olmert convened a special cabinet meeting on Thursday morning at 9 a.m. in order to brief the ministers on the temporary transfe! r of powers.

The Rabbinate organized a prayer rally service at the Western Wall Wednesday night.

It initially appeared that Sharon\'s condition was not as severe. According to well-placed sources, there were two deteriorations, the first just prior to the arrival at Hadassah and the second, upon entering the trauma unit.

While on his way to the hospital, Sharon\'s spokesmen claimed that the prime minister was conscious and able to speak, but had complained that he was suffering from weakness and "felt ill."

The prime minister initially complained of feeling chest pressure and pain. Two Sharon associates said the prime minister was feeling unwell at his Negev ranch, and following a discussion with his personal doctor, decided to be taken to the hospital.

He could have been taken to the closer Soroka Hospital in Beersheba, but it was decided to take him to the further Jerusa! lem hospital, where he was to have a pre-scheduled catheterization on Thursday.

Sharon\'s son Gilad was reportedly in the car with him, along with a physician, while his other son, Omri Sharon, arrived at the hospital as well.

After suffering a mild stroke 18 days ago, the prime minister had been scheduled to undergo the heart procedure Thursday morning.

However, the procedure was reportedly delayed due to the events of Wednesday evening.

High-ranking Likud sources hinted that the Likud could end up staying in the government if Sharon\'s health situation turned out to be serious, but a Netanyahu spokesman said the party would not issue any statement other than to wish the prime minister well.

The dramatic downturn in Sharon\'s health came as Sharon was running for reelection on March 28 at the head of a new centrist party, Kadima. He was enjoying 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.