Sharon in Hospital After Having
Mild Stroke; His Release Is Expected Soon, After Undergoing Tests
By MARK LAVIE Associated Press Writer
JERUSALEM Dec 18, 2005 — Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was hospitalized Sunday
after suffering a minor stroke, but his condition quickly improved and he was expected to be released soon, a hospital official
Sharon never lost consciousness and his condition quickly improved, said Yuval Weiss, deputy director of Jerusalem's Hadassah Hospital.
The premier was expected to be released after undergoing tests, he said.
"Initial checks showed he had a light stroke and during checks his condition
improved. He was always conscious and didn't need any surgical intervention," Weiss said.
Sharon, 77 and extremely overweight, was speaking with family members and aides.
Another hospital official, Shmuel Shapira, said Sharon was in stable condition. Sharon's
sons, Omri and Gilad, rushed to the hospital.
The prime minister has been a fixture of Israeli politics for more than
three decades. Last month, he broke away from his hard-line Likud Party and formed the centrist Kadima faction to contest
March 28 parliamentary elections.
Kadima, which has a commanding lead in the polls, is built around Sharon, and it was unclear what would happen if Sharon
were too ill to campaign. If Sharon is incapacitated, Vice
Premier Ehud Olmert would take over the government.
Sharon had just finished a Sunday evening meeting with government officials to discuss
poverty when he felt weak, Israeli media reported. The premier was immediately rushed to the hospital in his official vehicle,
all nearby roads were closed and he was brought directly to the emergency room, media reports said.
Israel TV said Sharon
was a little confused but conscious, and he was communicating with his doctors. He had no difficulty moving his arms and legs.
He underwent an MRI and was being treated by neurologists, the station reported.
Sharon's health and age have always lurked in the background of his term as prime minister,
which started in 2000. The ex-army general has never released his medical records but has insisted in recent years he is not
suffering from any serious ailments.