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The health of Israel's former Sephardi chief rabbi, Mordechai Eliyahu, deteriorated dramatically on Tuesday as doctors were forced to resuscitate him at a Jerusalem hospital.

Doctors at the Sha'arei Tzedek Hospital defined the rabbi's condition as critical. The 78-year-old rabbi's son, rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, said that after performing the resuscitation, the medical staff placed his father in an intensive care unit.

Israel's Ashkennazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger on Tuesday called on the public to pray for Eliyahu, who is considered one of the most senior rabbis of the national-religious movement.

In late April, the rabbi was also rushed to hospital after suffering a heart attack.