Former Israeli President Shimon Peres is in "serious but stable" condition after suffering a major stroke, as the nation rallies in support for the 93-year-old elder statesman and Nobel Peace Prize laureate.
Dr Yitzhak Kreiss, director of the Sheba Medical Center near Tel Aviv, said Peres was in a medically induced coma to allow him to rest after experiencing significant bleeding in the brain.
Peres was rushed to hospital on Tuesday after feeling ill and after a battery of tests was diagnosed to have suffered a stroke. Kreiss said Peres was being transferred to neurosurgical intensive care unit where he would continue to be evaluated.
Rafi Valden, Peres' son-in-law and personal physician, gave an optimistic forecast, saying that Peres was responsive when addressed and even squeezed a hand when asked to.
"We are happy to remark then when the sedation was a little lessened he was reactive,'' he said. "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.''
Peres is the elder statesman of Israeli politics, one of the country's most admired symbols and the last surviving link to its founding fathers.
Over a seven-decade career, he's held virtually every senior political office, including three stints as Prime Minister and extended terms as foreign, defense and finance minister. He won the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize for his work in reaching an interim peace agreement with the Palestinians.