TEL AVIV (Oct. 5)
Premier Menachem Begin will not be released from the hospital today as planned because the mild heart ailment diagnosed when he was admitted Friday requires several more days of rest and treatment, his physicians said. The Premier is suffering from pericarditis, an inflammation of the membranes surrounding the heart. The doctors said that condition often appears in the aftermath of a heart attack such as Begin suffered three months ago.
His condition this morning was described as good. He was responding well to treatment and the slight fever he ran for the past two days has ended. Begin no longer complains of chest pains. His doctors said he would be able to leave the hospital in a few days but will have to rest at home for several days before returning to work. He will undergo another physical examination before returning to Jerusalem.
Begin’s illness has not prevented him from conducting government business from his hospital bed. He has been visited by aides daily for briefings on the latest developments and has received hundreds of phone calls, cables and flowers. One bouquet of flowers held special significance. It came from the Lebanese Major Abu-Jamil, one of the Christian commanders who sent his well wishes to Begin saying that he was “the only one that came to help us and saved us.”
Begin also had a long talk with Finance Minister Simcha Ehrlich who has been presiding over the government. Ehrlich raised the possibility of forming a national unity government in light of the recent events in the U.S. or, at least, to make another attempt to get the Democratic Movement for Change to join the present coalition. It was learned that there have been private talks with some DMC personalities on this but the party leader, Prof. Yigael Yadin, apparently has not been swayed.