Ariel Sharon Turns 80 in Coma

No change in former Israeli PM's condition, doctors not optimistic

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 27, 2008 3:55 AM CST

(Newser) – Former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon turned 80 yesterday, still in a coma from a massive stroke in January 2006. Family members gathered at the hospital to mark the occasion, the Jerusalem Post reports. Among them was his eldest son, Omri, due to start a seven-month jail sentence today for illegally raising funds for one of his dad's campaigns.

Sharon served as Israel's prime minister for five years. His deputy, Ehud Olmert, was elected to succeed the former Haganah fighter after he was incapacitated. A former Sharon adviser said there has been little change in Sharon's condition over the last year, though his vital signs are good. "I understand that the doctors are not optimistic," said the aide when asked if Sharon is expected to emerge from the coma.

In this 2006 Israeli schoolchildren carrying an Ariel Sharon photo album to present to Israel's ill prime minister, at the Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital in Jerusalem. Ariel Sharon turned 80 years old yesterday,...   (Getty images)
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert attends a ceremony in Hiriya landfill near Tel Aviv, Israel, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2007. On Sunday, Olmert, Peres, former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharin's sons, Omri...   (Associated Press)
Omri Sharon, the eldest son of Israel's former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, is seated in an Israeli court in Tel Aviv, Israel, in this Monday Jan. 23, 2006 file photo. Israel's Supreme Court on Monday,...   (Associated Press)
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is seen attending a ceremony at the Prime Minister's office in Jerusalem, in this Jan. 4, 2006, file photo. He slipped into a coma days later from which he has never...   (Associated Press)
With a picture of the late Israeli leader Ariel Sharon at the background, Israeli Prime minister Ehud Olmert gestures during a speech in Jerusalem Thursday, Sept. 6, 2007 to toast the coming Jewish New...   (Associated Press)
A 1977 file photo General Ariel Sharon and his wife Lilii.   (Magnum Photos)
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