JERUSALEM (Jun. 25)
Premier Menahem Begin’s personal physician, Dr. Mervyn S. Gotsman, chief of the Cardiac Department of the Hadassah Medical Center here, told reporters tonight that “Mr. Begin is in good physical condition and is carrying out his normal, full daily duties. ” He said that “The articles that have recently appeared in this country and abroad questioning the Prime Minister’s health are totally without foundation.”
Gotsman summoned newsmen to the Prime Minister’s office to read them his statement on Begin’s health in response to widespread reports in recent weeks that Begin’s physical condition was precarious and he was unable to function properly. ” I feel it necessary to make specific references to two misleading and, in my professional view, irresponsible reports that appeared this week in Time magazine and two weeks ago in the London Evening Standard. Those reports are based upon imaginary conditions which do not represent Mr. Begin’s state of health. Mr. Begin is well and none of his physical conditions in any way impair the conduct of his normal daily activities or duties as Prime Minister, “Gotsman said.
The Standard, in a report picked up by newspapers in the U.S. and other countries, claimed Begin was in need of heart surgery. Time correspondent David Halevi reported that Begin had blacked out during a recent Cabinet meeting and had to be carried from the room.
Dr. Gotsman said “Forteen months ago, Mr. Begin suffered an acute myocardial infarction (heart attack) and since then has had two episodes of pericarditis. For many years he has been known to suffer from very mild chemical diabetes which has been controlled successfully by a minimal dose of oral anti-diabetic therapy. His blood sugar does not fluctuate. Mr. Begin does not suffer from angina pectoris (chest pains) nor shortness of breath and has totally recovered from his myocardial infarction. “
A source close to the Premier told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that he sees Begin daily and his impression is “quite the contrary of that portrayed in the Time report. ” The Premier has made several public appearances recently the latest in Tel Aviv last night in order to quash rumors that he is in ill health. (By David Landau)