Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is quickly recovering from a mild stroke. But the illness is raising questions about his political future.
Mr. Sharon's doctors say he did not suffer any damage from the stroke, and he will be released from the hospital Tuesday.
"I am coming at this moment from the room of Prime Minister Sharon, and after conducting with him a short conversation, I can say that he looks fine, feels fine and he wants to go home," said Dr. Yair Birnbaum spoke at a news conference at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem.
Dr. Yaakov Neparstok said Mr. Sharon suffered a brief blood clot in the brain, but recovered quickly, after he was given blood thinners. "And we were happy to find out that, except [for] this event, Mr. Sharon does not suffer from any significant medical problem," he said.
The prime minister is extremely overweight, and doctors are recommending that he go on a diet. And, they say, he should get some rest.
But rest will be hard to come by, as Mr. Sharon faces a grueling campaign ahead of national elections on March 28. Jerusalem Post correspondent Gil Hoffman says the prime minister's illness changes the political landscape, because he is a one-man show. "The impact is absolutely huge. In this campaign, Sharon was expected to win by a landslide with a new party, called Kadima, that he formed only a month ago. The party was really formed around his image, and everything revolves around him," he said.
And at 77-years-old, his age is now cause for concern. "Age was never really an issue in this campaign. People never really brought it up. And, from now on, his health is going to be one of the primary issues in this campaign," Mr. Hoffman said.
Since pulling Israel out of Gaza in August, Mr. Sharon has established himself as a strong and determined leader, who can get the job done. But his illness is raising questions about whether he is still up to the job.