Former Israeli Minister Ben-Eliezer in Medically Induced Coma


binyamin-ben-eliezerFormer Israeli defense minister Binyomin Ben- Eliezer was in a medically induced coma at a hospital near Tel Aviv on Wednesday after contracting pneumonia.
A spokeswoman for Assaf Harofeh hospital denied media reports that his life was in danger, but would not categorize his condition when asked by the German Press Agency dpa.

Ben-Eliezer, who many call Fouad – his original Arabic first name – was hospitalized a week ago, but his condition worsened on Tuesday.

“In order to assist lawmaker Fouad Ben-Eliezer from a respiratory point of view, it has been decided to place him on a respirator and anaesthetise him,” a hospital statement said.

Ben-Eliezer, 75, is one of Israel’s leading old-guard politicians and a key figure in the Labour Party.

He served as Israel’s trade and industry minister until January, when he resigned amid a split of the Labour Party, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s second coalition party.

Born in Iraq and fluent in Arabic, he was at the forefront of Israel’s efforts to forge friendly ties with moderate Arab countries. He is said to have become a close friend of, among others, Egyptian president Hosny Mubarak before he was ousted earlier this year.
A strong proponent of the peace process with the Palestinians, he is nevertheless seen as a relative hawk within his party.

He served as defence minister during the 2002 Operation Defensive Shield, the largest Israeli offensive in the West Bank during the second Palestinian uprising.

Launched after a wave of suicide bombings in Israeli cities, the offensive left 497 Palestinians and 29 Israeli soldiers dead, according to a United Nations fact-finding mission.

{Monsters and Critics/ Newscenter}