Members of the Peres family were summoned to the bedside of Israel’s ninth president, Shimon Peres, on Tuesday to say their last goodbyes, according to Channel 10 TV news. The former president’s medical condition drastically deteriorated as Peres appeared to be heading for general organ failure. His breathing, kidney function and other vital signs were sluggish, indicating “a source for worry,” doctors said, according to Hebrew-language media. He was listed Tuesday evening in critical condition. Two weeks ago the 93-year-old statesman suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and was hospitalized in the Intensive Care Unit at Chaim Sheba Medical Center. Initially he was listed in serious but stable condition and slowly began to improve, initially responding to simple directives, recognizing at least one relative and squeezing the hands of one of them. Last week doctors began to slowly reduce the former president’s sedation. They also attempted to reduce his body’s dependence on the respirator. But his personal physician and son-in-law — also the deputy director of the medical center — Prof. Rafi Walden, said “his condition is extremely serious.” But the situation took a severe turn for the worse on Tuesday, his neurological condition rapidly deteriorating. Sources at the hospital said Peres had suffered irreversible brain damage. All close members of the family were at the bedside of the former president Tuesday.
President Reuven Rivlin is on a state visit to Ukraine and shared the news about Peres with the country’s lawmakers during an address to the parliament in Kiev, referring to his predecessor as “my friend, Shimon Peres.
“My thoughts are with Israel’s ninth president Shimon Peres, who is fighting for his life at these very moments… The president was a guest of honor in this house and a friend of the Ukrainian people,” Rivlin said, “and saw the great importance of strengthening the ties between the states.”
“In the name of the Israeli people, and people around the world, we pray for his recovery.”
Israel’s Sephardic Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef visited the bedside of the former president also on Tuesday, and told media he read a passage from Tehillim during the visit. “He was a friend of my father’s, and the two of us had a great relationship,” the Chief Rabbi said.
“An hour before my father died, he came and held his hand. We had a great relationship between us and he respected every living thing, respected the rabbis, loved Torah and is very virtuous.”
Shas Minister Arye Deri and Rabbi of the Western Wall, Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch visited the hospital room of the former president. Both said prayers for his recovery.