Former Israel president Shimon Peres recovering from stroke

Former Israeli President Shimon Peres suffered a stroke. Picture: AP
Former Israeli President Shimon Peres suffered a stroke. Picture: AP
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Doctors treating former Israeli President Shimon Peres for a stroke say his condition has slightly improved.

Hospital director Yitzhak Kreiss said Peres’ condition remained serious, 24 hours after he was rushed in for treatment.

But he says there has been a “certain improvement” in his neurological functions.

He said Mr Peres, who has been in a medically induced coma, has regained consciousness from time to time.

Doctors are also trying to reduce some of the sedatives to evaluate him, which Mr Kreiss says is a “good sign”.

Rafi Walden, Mr Peres’ son-in-law and personal physician, told the crowd that he had “responded well” when the dosage of medication was reduced.

“I am pleased to say that he understands what is being said to him, is responsive, and even warmly squeezed my hand. We are impressed by the way the state of his recognition has improved considerably in the last few hours,” Mr Walden said.

Earlier yesterday, Mr Walden said there appeared to be no imminent threat to his life any more. The question was what kind of damage was sustained and what kind of recovery he could make.

Mr Peres suffered a stroke in the right side of the brain and was ventilated and sedated.

He is the elder statesman of Israeli politics, one of the country’s most admired symbols and the last surviving link to its founding fathers.

Over a seven-decade career, he has held virtually every senior political office, including three stints as prime minister and extended terms as foreign, defence and finance minister. He won the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize for his work in reaching an interim peace agreement with the Palestinians.

He had remained active since completing his seven-year term as president in 2014.

“In his people’s eyes he ceased to be a politician. He became an historic figure, larger than politics, larger than everyday affairs, a figure in a league of his own,” wrote Yediot Ahronot columnist Nahum Barnea.

Mr Peres was showered with well wishes from political friends and foes alike.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who defeated him in 1996 to become prime minister, personally called the hospital to inquire on his condition and posted a Facebook message wishing him a speedy recovery. “Shimon, we love you and the entire nation wishes you get well,” Netanyahu said.