The eighth anniversary of the stroke that left former prime minister Ariel Sharon in a coma and ended his political career was marked on Saturday with his family at his side as he remained in critical condition.
According to the latest update from Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer, Sharon’s vital organs are slowly failing, his health continues deteriorating and his life is at risk.
Prof. Ze’ev Rotstein, head of Sheba Medical Center, said at a press conference on Friday morning that a slow deterioration in the functioning of the 85-year-old’s vital organs had begun. Tests indicated a blood infection among the ailments that Sharon faced, he said.
When a reporter asked if Sharon was in his final days, Rotstein responded: “I personally feel so.”
“He is comfortable at this time. To the best of our understanding he is not suffering, such that we do not have to take any action to prevent him suffering,” Rotstein said.
Sharon’s former bureau chief Dov Weisglass told Channel 10 that the former prime minister was especially missed on the anniversary of the stroke, and that he often pondered how Sharon would have reacted to events in the news.
“The Middle East changed eight years ago because we lost a leader who knew how to make decisions,” said former Kadima MK Shai Hermesh, a close friend of the Sharon family for decades. “Now I am worried world leaders won’t come to his funeral like they would have had he died eight years ago.”
Yediot Aharonot reported that former US president George W. Bush and his secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, would come to a funeral for Sharon.
Sharon asked to be buried on his Negev ranch beside his wife Lily, who died in 2000. It was Hermesh who as head of the Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council organized the grave site.
In 2005, following the removal of graves from Gaza during Israel’s withdrawal from the Strip, then-Likud MK Ayoub Kara petitioned the High Court of Justice asking for Lily’s bones to be removed because the Negev grave site did not have the necessary permits.
Since then, all the required permits have been obtained to make the small cemetery legal.
But Hermesh cautioned against speculating over details of Sharon’s death while he is still fighting for his life.
“He’ll bury us all in the end,” Hermesh said. “Everyone is asking what happens when he’s dead, but the man is still alive and must be respected.”