JERUSALEM, July 23 (Portal) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was fitted with a pacemaker after suffering an abnormal heart rhythm on Sunday and was being observed in the cardiac unit of a Tel Aviv-area hospital, his doctors said.
“The implant went smoothly and without complications. His condition is not life threatening, he is feeling great and is getting back to his daily routine,” said Roy Beinart, who directs the Arrhythmia Center at Sheba Medical Center.
Netanyahu was given a heart monitor a week ago after being hospitalized for dehydration resulting from a holiday by the Sea of Galilee without adequately protecting himself from a heatwave.
The 73-year-old leader was urgently summoned on Saturday night after being diagnosed with a “temporary cardiac arrhythmia,” said Beinart.
Ahead of the implantation, a smiling Netanyahu recorded a video declaring, “I’m great, but I have to listen to my doctors.”
Netanyahu’s office said on Sunday that his release is expected later today. Meanwhile, the weekly cabinet meeting has been postponed.
In his record-breaking sixth term as prime minister, he faces a domestic crisis as protests mount over his religious-nationalist coalition’s calls for judicial changes.
Tens of thousands of Israelis marched in Jerusalem on Saturday hoping to rally support against judicial reform. They gathered outside Parliament ahead of Monday’s vote on a bill that would limit some of the Supreme Court’s powers.
Critics fear the judicial changes are aimed at curtailing the court’s independence from Netanyahu, who is on trial for corruption, which he denies. Netanyahu says reforms will balance branches of government.
The turmoil has added to tensions in relations with the United States, as has rising Israeli-Palestinian violence and advances in Iran’s nuclear program.
Washington has urged Netanyahu to seek comprehensive agreements on any judicial reforms. In his video, Netanyahu hinted that last-minute deals could be made.
Netanyahu, first elected to the top office in 1996, has been both dynamic and divisive. He led a free-market revolution in Israel while showing distrust of internationally supported peace policies with the Palestinians and world power negotiations to limit Iran’s nuclear program.
In early October, just weeks before winning a national election, Netanyahu fell ill during the Jewish fast of Yom Kippur and was briefly hospitalized.
Reporting by Maayan Lubell and Ari Rabinovitch; Edited by Paul Simao and Richard Chang
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