by Joe Shea
American Reporter Correspondent
December 18, 2005
SHARON CONSCIOUS AFTER 'MINOR' STROKE
BRADENTON, Fla., Dec. 18, 2005 1:43pm EST -- A blog at Kiryas Joel in Monroe, N.Y., reported minutes ago that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, 78, suffered a minor stroke at the end of his workday at his office and was hospitalized at the Hadassah hospital there after at least briefly losing consciousness. The report was immediately moved by another blog, "ERHC On The Move" (erhc.blogspot.com), and then followed a minute later by a Breaking News report from CNN's Wolf Blitzer.
Kiryas Joel is a conservative Hassidic enclave that has created its own village in Monroe, a suburb of New York City. The blog, Voz Iz Neias ("What's The Latest?," is run by a Kiryas Joel resident, Shloma Shamos. [This reporter grew up in Monroe.]
A deputy director-general of Hadassah Hospital later said the Prime Minister had regained consciousness, but a crawl line on CNN, which broke the story just one minute after it appeared on "ERHC On The Move," said he "was not entirely lucid."
Sharon, who is overweight, has nonetheless been very robust and actively building a new political party to challenge Likud in Israel's upcoming parliamentary elections after he dissolved the government several weeks ago. Normally, he would have returned to his ranch in the Negev after work on Sunday, which is the first day of the Israeli work week.
An acting prime minister has not yet taken charge of the government, and was reported to be at a soccer game in northern Israel and not planning to assume power from Sharon, a onetime hard-line general who has moved in recent months to establish a lasting peace with Palestinians.
"We are told he is conscious, but he is confused," CNN reporter Guy Raz told Wolf Blitzer.
A hospital spokesman said Sharon is undergoing tests to learn if in fact he suffered a stroke, and is in stable condition. Sharon's son, who is also substantially overweight, is now visiting him at the hospital. His son said Sharon never lost consciousness.