Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s condition had shown "significant improvement" on Friday after emergency brain surgery but was still serious, according to the latest reports.
The 77-year-old Israeli leader had been rushed to an operating room on Friday night after it had been determined that there had been further bleeding and increasing pressure inside his head. Friday’s surgery was the second in two days since a massive stroke on Wednesday.
Some Christian groups have asked for prayers for the Israeli leader as he struggles for his life, even as the White House criticized statements by controversial Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson, who attributed Sharon’s stroke to God’s wrath for "dividing his land."
"CWA and our members are praying for Prime Minister Sharon, his family and his country," said Wendy Wright, Executive Vice President for Concerned Women for America. "Many of us have loved ones who have suffered from strokes or other devastating illnesses. May God grant him and his loved ones peace in the midst of this, and wisdom to those who will be taking on his responsibilities."
In Sharon’s absence, Ehud Olmert – the prime minister’s deputy – has taken on the role of acting Prime Minister of the recently created Kadima Party.
"For all those that love Israel, this is a time of urgent prayer both for Mr. Sharon and the nation as a whole," said Malcolm Hedding, the Executive Director for the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem. "Please join with us in praying that God's Kingdom would come and His Will be done at this critical hour."
On his 700 Club television program, which reaches about 1 million daily television viewers, Robertson had called Sharon "a good friend" stating that he had prayed with Sharon about a year ago and that he was sad to see the Israeli leader in his condition.
However Robertson also said that in the Bible, the prophet Joel "makes it very clear that God has enmity against those who ‘divide my land," referring by Sharon and his government’s decision to require that Israeli settlers leave the Gaza Strip at the southwestern tip of Israel.
Sharon "was dividing God’s land and I would say woe unto any prime minister of Israel who takes a similar course to appease the EU (European Union), the United Nations, or the United States of America," Robertson said.
"God considers this land to be His," he added. "You read the Bible and He says `This is My land,' and for any prime minister of Israel who decides he is going to carve it up and give it away, God says, `No, this is Mine."'
Presidential spokesman Trent Duffy, who was traveling with President Bush to Chicago for a speech, denounced the statements.
"Those comments are wholly inappropriate and offensive and really don't have a place in this or any other debate," said Duffy, according to the Associated Press.