Shimon Peres improves but condition still serious

Israel’s ninth President remains in a serious condition, despite a slight improvement over the last day, following a major stroke.

Shimon Peres, 93, is in intensive care at the Sheba Medical Centre near Tel Aviv, having been taken ill on Tuesday and subsequently suffering a stroke. Peres is breathing with the aid of a respirator, but showed greater signs of awareness and responsiveness yesterday.

Prof. Ze’ev Feldman, a member of the neurosurgical team treating Peres said that yesterday he “woke up, opened his eyes, and understood what we told him. He followed our instructions even better than the previous test”. Peres’s personal physician and son-in-law Rafi Walden said this morning that “there is another real improvement
” although Peres’ condition remains serious but stable.

Meanwhile, Knesset members condemned comments made yesterday by Joint Arab List MK Basel Ghattas, who yesterday attacked Peres. Ghattas, who has a history of incendiary rhetoric, said via social media that Peres is a “tyrant” who “was directly responsible for various atrocities and war crimes which he committed against us… He is completely covered with our blood”.

Zionist Union MK Itzik Shmuli called Ghattas a “wretched man” whose “contribution to politics has amounted to sowing hatred and strife between people, support for terror and cheap provocation for his own self-promotion”.

Yesh Atid MK Meir Cohen, a former-Welfare Minister called Ghattas “despicable” and said that he does not represent the vast majority of the Arab public, just the “despicable extremists among them”.

Peres is considered to be one of Israel’s most distinguished statesmen. In addition to serving as President from 2007 until 2014, he was Prime Minister on two occasions and a member of twelve cabinets. As a parliamentarian, Peres enjoyed an unbroken spell in the Knesset from 1959 to 2007. He was also awarded the Nobel Peace Prize having played a major role as Foreign Minister alongside then Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin in forging the Oslo Peace Accords with the Palestinians in the early 1990s.

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