Sharon to undergo angioplasty; Israeli polls show continued support for PM despite health concerns
Doctors of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon revealed on Monday that the Israeli leader will undergo angioplasty in a number of weeks, a medical procedure in which a tube will be inserted into his heart to close a hole that had formed there and presumably caused the stroke that he recently suffered.
Tamir Ben-Hur, a doctor at the Jerusalem hospital where Sharon was being treated, said that "This will be done to prevent future blood clots," reported Reuters.
The health of 77-year old Sharon has lead some to question his ability to maintain his leadership as usual. Polls taken in Israel, though, reveal that Israeli public opinion has not been swayed by Sharon's recent hospitalization, and that those who supported him previously, will continue to do so in upcoming elections in March.
One Sharon supporter told reporters, "Our assumption has proven correct - the stroke only improved Kadima's place in the surveys. The Israeli public has shown empathy for the prime minister."
Nonetheless, Sharon's aides have chosen to publicly reaffirm his ability to govern Israel.
"The prime minister wishes to inform the public of his medical condition, in order to clarify that the stroke did not cause any damage," a Sharon aide said.
Chairman of the Knesset Legislative Committee MK Michael Eitan, however, chose to stress the importance of the Prime Minister's leadership abilities after his stroke, saying, "What is significant is whether there were any damages to his cognitive capacity. What is needed is a neuro-psychological evaluation of the prime minister," he said.
A press conference was held on Monday in which Sharon's doctors reported on his medical condition. Journalists, however, were banned from the conference, as was videotaping or recording the details of the meeting.
© 2005 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)