Former prime minister Ariel Sharon remained in critical condition on Friday with his life at risk, the head of the hospital treating him announced.
Over the past day a slow deterioration in the functioning of the 85-year-old's vital organs has occurred, Prof. Ze’ev Rotstein, head of Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer said at a press conference Friday morning.
Rotstein said tests indicated a blood infection among the ailments faced by Sharon.
Asked by a reporter if Sharon was in his final days, Rotshein responded saying, "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.
His sons remained by his side.
Sharon, who had been comatose for almost eight year following a stroke, was announced to have been in critical condition Thursday as plans for a state funeral began to be discussed behind the scenes.
Sharon, now 85, had made clear that he preferred to be buried at his Negev home
– Sycamore Ranch – next to his late wife Lily and not in the traditional
grave-site for former prime ministers on Mount Herzl in the capital. The Prime
Minister’s Office would handle arrangements for a funeral together with Sharon’s
sons, Gilad and Omri.
It was unclear on Thursday whether many world
leaders and foreign ministers would come to the funeral, as they have to the
recent funerals of former South African president Nelson Mandela and former
British prime minister Margaret Thatcher. US Secretary of State John Kerry spoke
warmly of Sharon in his Jerusalem press conference with Prime Minister Binyamin
A close confidant of Sharon who visited his hospital bed on
Thursday told The Jerusalem Post that since he entered a coma after his stroke,
the former prime minister’s family always hoped in vain that something would
happen that would enable him to return to his former health. He said it was
unclear how long Sharon would live.
“Nobody knows, not even the doctor,
how long he could hold on,” the confidant said.
“If there is anything
positive that emerged from this, it is the response from the public. We
thought that after eight years nobody would care, but it’s not
Saturday marks eight years since Sharon’s severe second
At press time, Sharon remained in critical condition, and his
life remained in danger due to a deterioration in the function of vital organs, Rotstein said.
told reporters that Sharon, who was reported to have been suffering from serious
kidney failure, was not on dialysis, but that doctors were administering
antibiotics due to numerous infections.
“He’s getting all the treatment
necessary,” Rotstein said. “I am no prophet, but the feeling of his doctors and
his sons is that there has been a change for the worse.”
officials confirmed that not only Sharon’s kidneys, but also other organs had
stopped working. They could not confirm reports that they were taking steps to
stabilize but not to improve his medical condition.
spokesman, Ra’anan Gissin, said, “There is no doubt that it is
We can’t see any recovery or improvement in his health
Gissin, who served as Sharon’s spokesman for 15 years, said
he last saw him in the hospital some five years ago, and has stayed in touch
with Sharon’s sons and former driver.
Gissin characterized his former
boss as “not a person you can forget, he is in people’s minds.”
that he still meets people on the street who recognize him from his days at
Sharon’s side, and say that they think about the former prime
According to Gissin, Sharon was “fighting until the last
moment,” something that indicated that his “life force is so strong. We need
people like him to continue the project of building the State of
Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar told reporters on a tour of the
Jordan Valley that Sharon was “a warrior and a leader who is fighting at this
moment for his life.”
Economy Minister Naftali Bennett praised Sharon for
shaping the IDF’s values, such as succeeding in a mission no matter the cost,
never leaving the wounded behind and the commander always being on the front
“Certainly there are many of us (myself included) with great anger
about the expulsion of 8,000 Gush Katif residents from their homes and the
disastrous results for the citizens of Israel,” Bennett wrote on his official
Facebook page. “But during these hours, while Sharon is fighting for his life,
we should remember his merits.”
In the Gaza Strip, a Hamas leader spoke
bitterly of a man the movement sees as one of the Palestinians’ worst
“Ariel Sharon is going the same direction as other tyrants and
criminals whose hands were covered in Palestinian blood,” said the leader,
There was no sympathy in the West Bank
“God willing, he dies,” said Rauf Ramia, a laborer from the
Kalandiya refugee camp, north of Jerusalem. “He’s a terrible person.”
Reuters and Herb Keinon contributed to this report.