Former president and Nobel Peace Prize winner Shimon Peres, the last of Israel’s founding fathers, suffered from a stroke but is breathing with the aid of a respirator in intensive care. Video provided by AFP

Former Israeli president and prime minister Shimon Peres, who had a stroke Tuesday, has shown signs of improvement over the last 24 hours but remains in serious condition.

Rafi Walden, Shimon Peres’s son-in-law and personal physician, said Wednesday that the former president is “responsive and understands what is being said to him,” according to the Times of Israel.

Peres is alert, awake and has tried to sit up in bed at the hospital near Tel Aviv., Peres aide Ayelet Frish said, according to the Times of Israel.

“We don’t want to raise expectations but there is a positive development. He is raising his hand. I saw him wake up and it was very emotional.” Frish said. She added that they continue to pray for his recovery.

“After 24 hours of intensive treatment, I can say that although he is still in serious condition, he is stable and there is an improvement,” said Yitzik Kreiss, director of the Sheba Medical Center.

Peres is Israel’s most senior statesman, a former soldier who fought for Israel’s war of independence,…