Former Israeli leader Sharon’s condition deteriorating: hospital

By Jeffrey Heller JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, comatose since a 2006 stroke, slipped closer to death on Thursday after a sharp decline in the condition of the ex-general who long symbolized Israel’s military might. Reviled by Arabs over his hardline policies and viewed with a mixture of respect and suspicion by many Israelis, 85-year-old Sharon has been on life support at Sheba Medical Center near Tel Aviv for the past eight years, far from the public gaze.