Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, leader of Israel's ultra-orthodox Shas party, suffers stroke


Rabbi Ovadia Yossef, spiritual leader of the Israeli ultra-Orthodox Shas party, gestures during a meeting in Jerusalem on December 11, 2011.


Gali Tibbon

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the head of Israel's ultra-orthodox Shas party, has suffered a mild stroke. 

The 92-year-old spiritual leader was rushed to Hadassah Hospital after he collapsed during prayers in synagogue Saturday morning, the Jerusalem Post

The director of Hadassah, Dr. Yuval Weiss, said that Rabbi Yosef had "a very light stroke," and is now undergoing medical tests, Arutz Sheva reported

“He is conscious and fully communicating with those around him,” Dr. Weiss said, the Associated Press reported. “I hope he can return home in a few days." 

The Rabbi has a reputation of being a political kingmaker in Israel, according to GlobalPost senior correspondent Noga Tarnopolsky. 

"He was known as a man could send tens of thousands out to vote with one word said at Sabbath prayers," said Tarnopolsky. "For several years, he basically kept Rabin and Peres in power." 

He is also recognized as the the first ultra-religious figure from the Sephardic tradition to have that kind of political clout, and the was the first ultra-Orthodox figure to sway left, according to Tarnopolsky. 

A Smith Research poll conducted for The Jerusalem Post this predicted that his Shas party would win 10 seats in the upcoming January 22 election. 

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