Olmert’s cancer news boosts his popularity
ISRAELI PRIME Minister Ehud Olmert’s taboo-breaking announcement on Monday that he was suffering from prostate cancer has nearly doubled his popularity among the Israeli public.
According to a Dahaf Institute poll, Mr Olmert’s approval ratings jumped from eight per cent in July to 14 per cent on Monday.
Another poll by Teleseker showed 11 per cent of the respondents thought Mr Olmert was the most suitable candidate for prime minister, up from 4.8 per cent in June.
Minah Tzemah, head of the Dahaf Institute, noted that Mr Olmert’s popularity had also increased because of the IDF raid on Syria last month.
Sixty-one per cent of the Dahaf respondents said that they thought Mr Olmert had shown courage in announcing his illness to the nation, while 84 per cent said they believed his doctors’ remark that the Prime Minister’s chances of a full recovery were high.
In the past, Israeli leaders have hidden their health problems from the public. Mr Olmert’s announcement was seen as setting a new precedent for the country’s leaders, particularly following the experience of Mr Olmert’s predecessor, Ariel Sharon, who is still in a coma following a massive stroke at the beginning of last year.
Mr Olmert told a hastily arranged press conference that “initial signs of a cancerous growth have been identified. It is a microscopic growth, which has not metastasised, and which can be removed in a short surgical procedure.”
He said his doctors had assured him it was not life-threatening, and his office later announced that the operation to remove the growth will take place after the Annapolis summit, scheduled for later this month.
Among the many callers to wish him well was Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who himself underwent prostate surgery in 2001.
The 62-year-old Israeli Prime Minister is known for his healthy lifestyle, running between 8 to 10km at least twice a week, as well as regularly visiting the gym.
The IDF’s head of battle fitness, Colonel Avi Moyal, is his personal trainer.
Ehud Olmert in Jerusalem announces he is to undergo prostate surgery