The Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is fighting for survival after suffering a massive stroke. It took surgeons at the Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem more than seven hours to stem the bleeding in the 77-year-old’s brain. Hospital director Shlomo Mor-Yosef said that Sharon is in a stable but critical condition and is likely to remain in deep sedation and on a respirator for at least the next 24 hours.His illness has created a political vacuum in Israel, just weeks before elections. Political leaders from across the world have expressed hopes of a speedy recovery. Sharon, who has long been seriously overweight, spent several days in hospital last month after suffering a minor stroke. He had been due to undergo an operation today to repair a hole in his heart. The premier was rushed to hospital last night from his ranch in the Negev desert in southern Israel, with what was later diagnosed as a cerebral haemorrhage or bleeding stroke. It is not yet known how much brain damage Sharon minister has suffered but medical experts say he is unlikely to pull through without serious damage to his faculties.