Israel’s Peres fighting for life following earlier stroke

Israel's President Shimon Peres. Picture:  Chris Wattie / REUTERS
Israel’s President Shimon Peres. Picture: Chris Wattie / REUTERS

Israeli former president and Nobel Peace Prize winner Shimon Peres was fighting for his life yesterday after suffering a stroke earlier this month, a source close to him said.

“His health position is very, very difficult. His doctors are worried about his health,” the source, who did not want to be named, said.

Peres, 93, has held nearly every major office in Israel, serving twice as prime minister. He was also president, a mostly ceremonial role, from 2007 to 2014.

He won the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize jointly with prime minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat for his role in negotiating the Oslo Accords, which envisioned an independent Palestinian state.

The former hawk turned dove – the last of Israel’s founding fathers – is widely respected both in Israel and abroad.

He suffered a stroke on September 13 and has been in hospital near Tel Aviv ever since.

On September 18, Peres’s office said doctors planned to gradually reduce his sedation and respiratory support to judge his response.

His personal physician and son-in-law RafiWalden had said at the time that Peres had seen “very slow, moderate improvement”.

In January, Peres was admitted to hospital twice with heart trouble. In the first instance, the hospital said he had suffered a “mild cardiac event” and had undergone catheterisation to widen an artery.

He was rushed to hospital a second time just days later with chest pains and an irregular heartbeat.

Peres has sought to maintain an active schedule despite his age, particularly through his Peres Centre for Peace.

After suffering the stroke this month, Peres received an outpouring of support from across the world, including from Pope Francis, US President Barack Obama, Britain’s former premier Tony Blair and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said he was hoping Peres made a swift and full recovery.

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