Former Israeli President Shimon Peres, who won the Nobel Peace Prize for reaching an interim peace accord with the Palestinians in the early 1990s, is in a critical condition after a major stroke, doctors say. (more)
Peres, who is 93, was rushed to Chaim Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan on Tuesday afternoon, just hours after he posted a video to his Facebook page. His condition was initially described as "stable" but doctors later confirmed that the situation was more serious.
"The 9th President of the State of Israel, Shimon Peres, suffered a major stroke today," hospital director Yitzhak Kreiss said on late Tuesday evening, "He is being treated by the best doctors in the hospital from across the medical fields."
Prof. Kreiss said Peres underwent a number of scans, including a CT scan, and he remains sedated and intubated in the hospital's intensive care unit. "In the coming hours we will conduct further examinations," he said, adding that Peres had experienced a lot of bleeding.
The former leader's son, Chemi Peres, said that the family was going through a difficult time. "There will come a time when we will need to take some decisions. Everything is dependent on how things develop and we don’t know more than that at present," he explained.
Chemi Peres added: "We are receiving a huge number of messages from Israel and abroad ... I want to tell them all that there was nothing more important to my father than Israel and its people. My father is one of a kind, I am praying for him and ask all those that pray to continue to pray with us."
Peres served three brief terms as prime minister, but he also served in other senior posts across government. He became the country's ninth president in 2007 and served for seven years, until July 2014, but the role of president is largely ceremonial in Israel.
Peres is held in high regard both at home and abroad among allies. Perhaps most notably, Peres was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994 for negotiating the Oslo peace accord with the Palestinians, a prize he shared with Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.