Peres Discharged from Hospital, Receives Visit from Rav Lau


peresIsraeli President Shimon Peres was discharged this morning from the hospital after fainting on stage during a speech last night at a Young Presidents Organization event in Tel Aviv. He regained consciousness shortly afterwards. Peres was answering questions from the crowd after a talk on young leadership when he passed out, paramedics told Israeli media. The 86-year-old regained consciousness on his own within seconds, they added.

Initially, Peres refused to be taken to hospital but eventually agreed to go to Sheba Medical Center for a check up.

Dr. Ari Shamis of the hospital told Channel 10 that the president was not in danger and that he had “spontaneously regained consciousness.”

Peres’ doctor, Professor Rafi Walden, told reporters that the president was doing well and ascribed the episode to overwork.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy dispatched a letter to Peres saying how pleased he was to learn that Peres had recovered from the brief medical scare. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak also called the president today to wish him well.

On Shabbos, the president’s medical team estimated that the reason for his collapse was a momentary drop in blood pressure, apparently affected by the high temperature in the hall where he was making his speech. Peres has been taking medication to lower his blood pressure over the last two years, but is not known to suffer from any health problems.

“It was very hot there and he was standing up for a long time and felt weak. He feels fine now and is speaking to well-wishers from around the world on the phone,” Walden said after the incident.

“What probably happened to him is what happens to soldiers,” the doctor told Army Radio. According to Walden’s diagnosis, the president had a buildup of blood in his arms and legs, and as a result, his overall blood pressure dropped, causing him to faint. The doctor suspected that in addition to the heat Peres did not drink enough.

He added that tests done at the scene on Peres by paramedics included EKG and blood pressure, and that “all the tests results were completely normal.”

According to his test results, the doctor said, the president had the body of someone at least 15 years younger.

Sheba Director General surgeon Prof. Ze’ev Rotstein told Army Radio this morning that the president “did not suffer any cardiac or cerebrovascular incident.”

“Peres’ general condition is excellent, and he looks fine. As we know our president, he is vivacious and will soon be functioning as usual, like two presidents put together. As soon as the tests our finished we promised him he will return to normal life.”

Overnight, Israel Radio reported, Peres displayed his legendary vivacity, reading chapters in three different books he is now following. The president is known as an avid reader.

At 8:30 a.m., Peres spokeswoman Ayelet Frisch told reporters that “the president is due to be discharged in ten minutes and travel to Yerushalayim. This afternoon he will meet [US Middle East envoy George] Mitchell and continue [his schedule] as usual.”

Peres “does not understand what all the fuss is about and is deeply moved by the public’s expression of love and appreciation,” she said.

Asked by reporters whether the president was convinced to tone down his frenetic schedule, Frisch smilingly said, “We will try to bravely stand up to the president. I hope maybe now he will be convinced he needs to rest.”

Beit Hanassi Director General Efrat Duvdevani told Army Radio that she hoped Peres would “change gears” but added that from her acquaintance with him, “there is no chance. This is going to be for him another reason to go out, meet people, see and be seen.”

“It’s very hard to stop him,” added Prof. walden. “He has a sense of mission that motivates him. He is very important to Israel,” said the doctor.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara called Peres overnight and wished him a complete recovery. The president was also visited by his close friend, Rav Yisroel Meir Lau, the chief rabbi of Tel Aviv.

{JPost/Yair Israel}