I shudder to think what the final story will be with this breaking news that Ariel Sharon suffered a "significant" stroke tonight in Jerusalem.
The latest word is that he has been rushed into surgery to alleviate "massive bleeding and [that he] was being transferred to an operating theater."
Needless to say, I'm no doctor. But 'significant' in this context sounds to me like a euphemism for 'major'. And coming right on the heels of a relatively minor stroke only weeks ago, that sounds very bad.
I won't speculate any more on the medical prognosis; but what is the fate of the recent tectonic shifts in Israeli politics -- Sharon's bolting of Likud in conjunction with the major shift in the direction of Labor Party -- if Sharon is no longer on the scene?
Late Update: These details don't change the basic story. But I just wanted to update this post by noting that Sharon did not fall ill in Jerusalem but rather at his ranch in the Negev. And he was driven by ambulance -- an hour long drive -- to University Hospital in Jerusalem. According to the sketchy reports contained in this late Ha'aretz article, his episode began with chest pains and later developed into paralysis of the lower body. The web headline in the Jerusalem Post as of 6:16 PM is: Sharon fighting for his life.