The medical condition of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the ailing 93-year-old spiritual leader of the Shas party, remained very serious but stable, doctors said Thursday evening.
The rabbi’s doctor, Dr. Dan Gilon of Hadassah Medical Center at Ein Kerem in Jerusalem, said Yosef had problems with his kidneys, heart and lungs, and his condition is “life-threatening all the time, given his age.”
Yosef’s son, David, however, stressed that the rabbi’s condition was stable and claimed doctors had said that “there is a chance that he will pull through this … and be able to resume functioning.”
Yosef, a former chief rabbi and one of Israel’s most important religious figures, was hospitalized Saturday and underwent surgery to install a temporary pacemaker. Since Monday, he has been sedated and attached to a respirator.
“Every patient needs a miracle,” his daughter, Adina Bar-Shalom, had said Tuesday. “The family is holding up in the hope that it will end for the best.”
Yosef’s family was at his bedside through the Wednesday-Thursday final hours of the Sukkot festival.
“We need to pray,” Shas leader Rabbi Aryeh Deri said Tuesday in an emotional interview, which saw the veteran politician break into tears.
Yosef “spent all his life for us, and it’s our turn to give back even a little bit,” Deri said.
Deri, who helped build Shas into a political powerhouse under the rabbi’s spiritual guidance, said he felt “orphaned” when Yosef was put under sedation on Monday.
The rabbi has been hospitalized a number of times in the past few months as his health has deteriorated, including a 10-day stint at the same hospital just two weeks ago.
David Yosef asked the public to pray for his father on Saturday, and said that his condition is “worse than it has ever been.” Prayers have indeed been held on Yosef’s behalf all over the country over recent days.