Former Sephardic Chief Rabbi of the State of Israel Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu was rushed to Shaarei Tzedek hospital late Friday night with a heart attack. The Rabbi underwent a 6-hour surgery which began with a catheterization procedure, and then a bypass. Doctors say the surgery was successful.
After midnight Friday, the Rabbi was feeling pain in his chest and having difficulty breathing. His wife summoned a neighbor who is a nurse and an ambulance was called. An intensive care ambulance team administered initial treatment at the Rabbi's home in Jerusalem's Kiryat Moshe neighborhood, after which he was taken to the hospital at about 2 a.m.
Contrary to initial reports, Rabbi Eliyahu is not suffering from from fluid in his lungs.
Speaking on Arutz Sheva Hebrew radio Sunday, Rabbi Eliyahu's personal assistant, Rabbi Shmuel Zaafrani, said that Rabbi Eliyahu's condition is improving and he is communicating with those around him. The medical team is optimistic and intends to remove the Rabbi from the respirator.
Rabbi Eliyahu's family thanked the public for their prayers, and requested that the public read the entire book of Psalms in prayer for his complete and speedy recovery (Mordechai Tzemach ben Mazal Tov).
Throughout the Sabbath day, prayers were held in those synagogues which heard of his condition.
Before the incident, the Rabbi delivered his regular sermon during Friday night services in his synagogue and showed no signs of weakness.
Several months ago, Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu underwent cataract surgery in both eyes and refrained from leaving his home until just recently, when he renewed his public appearances at his synagogue and various functions.
Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu is considered one of the leading rabbinic leaders of the religious-Zionist public in Israel. His son Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu is the Chief Rabbi of Tzfat.