Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin speaks to the media on March 16, 2023 in Berlin, Germany.
Sean Gallup | Getty Images News | Getty Images
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was fitted with a pacemaker on Sunday after developing an arrhythmia, his doctors said, and was under observation in the cardiac ward of a hospital in the Tel Aviv area.
“The transplant went smoothly with no complications. He is not in a life-threatening condition and feels great and is back in his daily routine,” said Roy Beinart, MD, who directs the Arrhythmia Center at Sheba Medical Center.
Netanyahu had his heart monitored a week ago after being hospitalized for what he said was dehydration from spending his vacation on the Sea of Galilee without properly protecting himself from the heat wave.
Beinart said the 73-year-old leader was called urgently on Saturday night after a “temporary arrhythmia” was discovered.
Before the transplant, a smiling Netanyahu recorded a video saying, “I’m fine, but I need to listen to my doctors.”
Netanyahu’s office said on Sunday that he was expected to be removed from his post later in the day. Meanwhile, the weekly cabinet meeting has been postponed.
He faces an internal crisis in his record sixth term as prime minister, with protests mounting against his national-religious coalition’s push for judicial changes.
Tens of thousands of Israelis marched to Jerusalem on Saturday, hoping to rally support against judicial reform. They rallied 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 aim to reduce the court’s independence for Netanyahu, who is on trial for corruption, which he denies. Netanyahu says the reforms will balance the branches of government.
The uproar contributed to strained relations with the United States, as well as a rise in Israeli-Palestinian violence and progress in Iran’s nuclear program.
Washington has urged Netanyahu to seek broad agreements on any judicial reforms. In his video, Netanyahu suggested that agreements could be reached at the last minute.
First elected in 1996, Netanyahu has been dynamic and polarizing. He led the free-market revolution in Israel while displaying distrust of internationally backed peacemaking with the Palestinians and negotiations by world powers to limit Iran’s nuclear program.
In early October, a few weeks before he won the national elections, Netanyahu fell ill during the Jewish fast on Yom Kippur and was hospitalized briefly.