Shimon Peres, Israel’s last surviving founding father, ‘fights for life’ after stroke

Former Israeli president Shimon Peres was in “serious but stable” condition after suffering a major stroke, his doctors said on Wednesday. The 93-year-old Nobel Peace prize winner was in a medically induced coma to allow him to rest after experiencing significant bleeding in the brain. Israeli media reported that Peres was “fighting for his life”, but Rafi Walden, his son-in-law and personal physician, said there appeared to be no imminent threat to his life any more. The question was what kind of damage was sustained and what kind of recovery he could make, he added.

We’ll keep very close to him during the day and hopefully next time when the sedation will be lessened we hope we are going to be able to get in touch with him

Mr. Peres’ doctor, Rafi Walden

Mr Peres, who twice served as prime minister, is regarded as the elder statesman of Israeli politics and is the last of the country’s founding fathers. While once a divisive figure, he has come to be warmly regarded at home in later life. He is known to keep a healthy lifestyle and has long prided himself in his longevity and stamina. His son-in-law gave an optimistic medical report on Wednesday, saying he was stable and his blood tests were good. Peres was responsive when addressed, Prof Walden added, and even squeezed his hand when he asked him to.

As long as there was a danger to the existence of Israel, I was what you would call a hawk … The minute I felt the Arabs are open to negotiation, I said that’s what we prefer too

Mr Peres, in an interview in February