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Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai's medical history has been exposed in detail following an incident in which he fainted after working out at the Ramat Aviv Gimmel country club two weeks ago. The Hebrew weekly Yediot Tel Aviv has published the mayor's medical file, including the details of a previously unpublicized operation to remove a blood clot from his neck in 2005 and several earlier surgeries.
According to the newspaper, Huldai had worked out at the country club's gymnasium and was in the dressing room after taking a shower when he said he felt dizzy and then fainted. His alarmed personal adviser, Yigal Shapira, called an ambulance, and the mayor was swiftly taken to Ichilov Hospital. Doctors released him after about an hour and a half and pronounced him healthy, saying pressure on a nerve had caused the fainting spell. On his release, Huldai himself said, "I'm healthy, everything is okay."
But the newspaper has obtained Huldai's medical file and has raised questions about the true state of the mayor's health. The file reportedly says that Huldai has hardened arteries and high cholesterol, requiring daily medication. And in September 2005, he had an operation to remove a small blood clot from an artery in his neck, something those close to him allegedly "tried to hide" by saying he was on vacation in Eilat. Doctors reportedly told Huldai to work less and rest more after the operation, and the mayor stopped smoking.
According to the report, Huldai had been under the surgeon's knife several times previously. In May 2004, after feeling pressure in his chest, Huldai was diagnosed with a rare benign growth on a valve in his heart. Because doctors in Israel had little experience in removing this kind of growth, Huldai flew to Canada for open-heart surgery at the more experienced Toronto General Hospital. And back in the 1970s, when he was still serving in the air force, Huldai had surgery on his back for a slipped disk.
Huldai's personal physician, Professor Ardon Rubinstein, dismissed the newspaper's questioning of the mayor's health. "Ron Huldai's medical situation is exceptional," Rubinstein said. "He is physically active and has no limitations in any area. A man with hardening of the arteries like he has - which is common to more than 50 percent of the population - must be under medical supervision that takes into consideration his age and his history, and that is exactly what he is doing."
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