Slight Improvement in Condition of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef

Shas leader's condition improves slightly, as family and supporters urge continued prayers for a full recovery.

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Ari Soffer and Avi Yogev,

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef
Rabbi Ovadia Yosef
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Doctors treating leading Sephardic rabbi and spiritual head of the Shas party Rabbi Ovadia Yosef have reported a slight improvement in the rabbi's condition this morning (Tuesday).

Nevertheless, doctors are still describing the 93 year-old Iraqi-born rabbi's condition as "serious but stable."

Professor Dan Gilon, who is treating Rabbi Yosef, said in a statement that "The rabbi has made it through a difficult night, and his vital signs are stable," adding that "some improvements" had been registered in his overall condition.

"As with any person who is seriously ill, anything can happen" in the next few days, he continued, but noted that the decision to place the rabbi on a respirator last night had succeeded in aiding his recovery.

The last few weeks have seen a deterioration in Rabbi Yosef's condition. Despite recovering from a fall in which the elderly rabbi broke a vertebra two months ago, he has since been troubled by a recurring pain, and has been hospitalized several times since in an effort to ease his condition. 

This past Sunday, Rabbi Yosef underwent an operation to implant a pacemaker for his heart, and the hospital said the operation had been carried out successfully.

On Monday, he underwent successful dialysis treatment, following which doctors described his condition as "stable."

However, the rabbi's condition soon took a turn for the worse after scans revealed fluid in his lungs, leading Shas officials to cancel Sukkot celebrations and call for mass prayers on his behalf.

His family and aides have called upon Jews throughout the world to pray for his recovery, and numerous prayer services were held throughout last night.

As is customary in cases of life-threatening illnesses, the name "Haim" (meaning "life" in Hebrew) has been added to Rabbi Yosef's name, and those wishing to pray for him are asked to pray for Ovadia Haim ben Georgia.