jose cohen 298.88.
(photo credit: Hadassah)
Despite his coma, Ariel Sharon responded twice to the voices of his family: On both occasions, it was when the name of his eldest grandchild, Rotem, was mentioned. The second time, this past Monday morning, they repeatedly told Sharon: "Grandfather, Rotem wants to talk to you on the phone" - and then to the great joy of his family, he fluttered his eyelids.
"We need to be patient," his family told me with a note of cautionary optimism. After all, Ariel Sharon was declared dead - while still alive. "Patience" - that is the magic word repeated by the wonderful surgeons treating the prime minister - Felix Umansky and Jose Cohen. They have not lost their hope in the amazing battle they are waging over the prime minister's life - with boundless skill, love and devotion.
Blind fate presented these two Zionist Jews, who immigrated to Israel from Argentina, with the ultimate test - to save the life of another human being - who happens to be among the most important prime ministers that ever served in the Jewish state since its establishment, and at one of its most critical junctures. As Prof. Umansky said, "I am doing my best to save the life of the prime minister with all the devotion with which he has defended the state and its statutes for so many years."
What a shameful contrast between these words and the prattle of a number of doctors and most journalists who hurried not only to bury Sharon but also to eulogize him on television screens and newspaper headlines.
Why was it necessary immediately after the first, nine-hour operation two weeks ago to declare in banner headlines the next day "The age of Sharon is over?"
The Arabs are right when they say "haste is with the devil." That same somber Thursday, a very senior adviser of Sharon in his stupidity told the press, "It's over." A minister said, "Sharon has a few hours left to live." Another minister added, "He'll live until evening." A very senior minister added in discussion with Sharon's stunned bureau staff, "Funeral arrangements for this coming Monday ought to be taken into account" and they already discussed the arrangements for receiving the world leaders who would come for the state funeral.
There were those who hurried to clean up the area in front of the Knesset, where the body would lie in state. Others - out of the compassion of their hearts - suggested that Sharon would be better off dead, because if he were to live, he would be a vegetable. As General (Res.) Shlomo Lahat put it in English, "He would be better off dying with his boots on."
OF COURSE, all of these people will deny what they said or swallow their words if a medical miracle should happen again and Sharon recovers. They will explain that they were just "preparing for the worst-case scenario." However, I find it appropriate to liken the fame-hungry prattling physicians, journalists, ministers and politicians to Brutus: They embrace Sharon in public with feigned love, while stabbing him in the back at the same time. Yes, at times such as this there will always be an ugly Jewish Brutus on hand. But the ides of March have not yet arrived and the elections are to be held on March 28.
All those close to Sharon are doing everything they can to make that medical miracle happen. Not only Umansky and Cohen maintain an air of optimism, but his family never leaves his bedside in the sterile room. The sons, Omri and Gilad, continually speak to their father, lying like a bound Gulliver. The first time Sharon's monitor responded was when they repeatedly told him, "Rotem wants you to come home."
Eight-year-old Rotem is Sharon's pride and joy, the eldest of his six grandchildren. He has twin brothers born five years ago. Omri gave his father three little granddaughters.
Proudly, Sharon repeatedly told me, when Rotem was much younger, how his grandson brings his big shoes to his bedside each morning in his bedroom on the ranch. With considerable emotion, Sharon showed me a collection of Rotem's drawings, astonishing for a child his age. Lily too, the late grandmother, also loved to paint. Some of her paintings adorn the walls of the kitchen.
How wonderful that the name of this grandchild, Rotem, has become a kind of magic incantation, an "open sesame" in the family's indefatigable attempts to open a line of renewed communication to the brain of the beloved grandfather.
No one yet knows what fate awaits Ariel Sharon. But what is clear is that it was wrong to hurry and eulogize the man who served as commander and leader for over 20,000 days, some 60 years, who defended the Jews with his body and soul. Does he not deserve at least a hundred days of grace?
That is why I came out in television interviews against those who rushed to eulogize Sharon, even before he was buried, while weeping crocodile tears.