JERUSALEM (Jun. 15)
Deputy Premier Simcha Ehrlich was reported in “stable” condition at Bikur Holim Hospital after suffering a stroke yesterday which paralyzed his legs.
Dr. Shlomo Stern, the hospital director, said the 78 year-old Cabinet minister was fully conscious and was able to speak and to eat. “All essential functions are operating satisfactorily and we are presently satisfied with his condition,” Stern said. Nevertheless, medical sources said it would be a matter of weeks before Ehrlich could return to work.
Ehrlich, a leader of Likud’s Liberal Party wing, also holds the post of Minister of Agriculture. He served as Finance Minister during the Likud government’s first term. Some of his colleagues expressed concern today over the possible effects of his absence at a time when the Liberal Party is faced with an internal schism. Shortly before he fell ill, Ehrlich expressed confidence that he would be able to prevent a faction headed by Energy Minister Yitzhak Modai from breaking away from the party.
Ehrlich underwent open heart surgery in the U.S. several months ago. He was given five arterial by-passes. It was not clear whether his earlier condition was in any way related to the cerebral blood clot he suffered yesterday.