OK, people, I didn’t mean to throw anyone into a panic. Here’s what happened…and updates will appear below until we know what’s up…

This morning, I got an email: “It is with great Sadness that Israel Resource News Agency confirms that Ariel Sharon, the prime minister of Israel, died this morning, January 5th, 2006, 5th Tevet, 5766, at 11:00 AM at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem, Israel.”

UPDATED POST–Rumors of Sharon’s Death Greatly Exaggerated?:
Last night (NY time) Harry reported that there were rumors that were so unsubstantiated that he was afraid to report them. According to the JTA, “Doctors and Sharon aides refuted rumors Thursday that the prime minister had died. Sharon’s vital signs were stable, Hadassah hospital director Shlomo Mor-Yosef told reporters Thursday.”

No news yet from the Hadassah Medical Organization website.

On Israelity, Allison muses on a post-Sharon world.

Noon: CNN Radio just pronounced him “unlikely to survive” the massive stroke.

12:50pm (NYC time): Ha’aretz is posting a minute by minute update…last report:

19:45 — “Sharon not in vegetative state, has retained brain and heart functions (Channel 2)”

20:46 — “Hospital officials: Next update on Sharon’s condition expected at 7 A.M. (AP)”

21:29–“Hadassah officials: Sharon has suffered immense brain damage (Haaretz)”

3:07 NYC local time: I (Esther) just received another email from the Israel Resource News Agency:

“Israel Resource News Agency confirms that at about noon today, Israel time, doctors at Hadassah Hospital and security officials at the Israel Ministry of Defence in Tel Aviv were simultaneously informed that Prime Minister Sharon had died during surgery shortly before 11:00 AM.

Israel Resource News Agency has again spoken with officials from both Hadassah and the Israel Ministry of Defence who were officially informed at noon of Sharon’s death.

That begs the question: why does the government of Israel deny reports of Sharon’s death?

There are two possible explanations.

One is that, for whatever reason, the government is withholding the report.

The other explanation is that Sharon has been placed on a life support system, and that Sharon is “only” clinically dead.”

[So those of you watching your conspiracy-o-meters may want to put in a call to Oliver Stone.]

But seriously, I’m not loving the fact that I started this post. It’s a sad moment in the life of Israel, whether Sharon is still with us or not. I wish we all had the closure of really knowing what’s going on. I’ll continue to monitor Ha’aretz, and if someone else hears something, feel free to post it and let me know…

About the author

Esther Kustanowitz

For more posts by Esther, see EstherK.com, MyUrbanKvetch.com and JDatersAnonymous.com.

18 Comments

  • I just read at JPost that hospital officials are denying rumours of Sharon’s death, so hopefully it’s not true after all.

  • Man, I had a heart attack reading this just now. As of this moment, both JPost and Ha’aretz are reporting that he’s stable.

  • David Bedein who heads the IRNA is an incredible investigative reporter, breaking scoops that the other Israeli media likes to ignore. I wonder why he would release that.

    Anyway, without a miracle, Sharon is not going back to work, ever. Most people know an uncle or grandparent who’s gone through this, even ‘mild strokes’. We don’t need no talking heads telling us the situation since we know that very few recover fully, most partially damaged permanently, and the others never regain consciousness. So in effect, Sharon as we knew him, AKA the prime minister, is off the political scene and won’t run in the next elections.

    On the other hand, if he does miraculously recover, then A) something is fishy, B) start praying hard, this guy might be mashiach ben yosef after all.

    Anyway, I got flashbacks to Arafat’s long hospital stay and the endless denials of his passing.

  • I got the same email, the Israel Resource News Agency is not something one should really lead on, it was a rumor, they expanded a rumor, they didn’t quote their source.

    It’s pathetic reporting.

    I suspect there is a political motive behind what they posted.

  • I should know better than to report something from them…well, I know now. Updates to come as we receive them.

  • Well, it never ceases to amaze me what America’s evangelical commnity has done in response to this. Haaretz is reporting that Pat Robertson is essentially spinning this situation as Sharon’s punishment for “Dividing my Land” – Direct Quote from Robertson. Apparently by giving back Gaza, there isn’t enough room to fit all the Jews into the Holy Land so the messiah can come. So wonderful to see that Robertson is demonstrative of the kind, christian soul that doesn’t wish death on anyone.

    and on a side note, Ahmadinejad is up to his old hijinks with inflammatory speech…see the article as well.

  • I have a feeling there are also some Jews, not to mention Muslims who are also claiming this is divine retribution.

    I’m trying to focus on what the dietitians are saying. Let’s face it, the old guy may be a masterly politician and a pretty good soldier, but he ate himself into this situation. What’s ironic is that the operation was supposed to be today, so the entire course of history will be changed because of this stroke coming a day too soon.

  • Pat Robertson already basically said “See what happens when you try to dismember G-d’s holy land? Rabin got shot and Sharon had a stroke. You figure it out.”

    I guess he beat Ovadiah Yosef to the punch.

  • It seems that even if Sharon survives, he will be a shell of who he was.

    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/666918.html

    I am sad for him and his family. I am also sad because of what we all have lost in losing perhaps the last member of his generation and perhaps any generation who could truly push the process of locking up Israel’s borders and finding means to a peaceful resolution with the Arabs.

  • This whole thing is really tragic in an almost epic way. For the first time in years there was active momentum towards a tangible solution, and I was looking forward to seeing him through to the end of his plans. I’m really upset and a little bit angry that it’s all changed now.

    You just can’t be that old, that out of shape and that important. It’s a bad combo.

  • It’s weird. In a way, I didn’t really think he could die. I mean, intellectually I did, and to some degree it worried me, but still…who can kill Arik? I don’t know. It sucks.

  • Ephraim wrote:

    I guess he (Pat Robertson) beat Ovadiah Yosef to the punch.
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    … in fact, Rav Ovadiah immediately issued a public statement calling for recital of psalms and prayers for Sharon’s recovery.

  • Well, it’s good to know that Rav Ovadiah took his foot out of his mouth long enough to say something responsible.

    What is up with your site, ck? I linked over here from No Pasaran, and Jewlicious came up instantly. When I log on straight, it takes F-O-R-E-V-E-R.

  • Apparently, someone with inside information had passed information that Sharon is virtually brain dead. Another source is saying that Sharon is definitely dead, though I’m not sure if he means physically, or politically, which was a given that first night anyway.

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