© Reuters. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs a cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem on Monday, July 17, 2023. Ohad Zwijnenberg/Pool via Reuters/File Photo
By Maian Lubel
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a video statement released by his office that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be fitted with a pacemaker overnight between Saturday and Sunday.
“A week ago, I was fitted with a monitor. This device beeped this evening and said I had to get a pacemaker and that I had to do it tonight,” Netanyahu said in the video. “I feel great, but I need to listen to my doctors.”
In the video, Netanyahu, 73, was standing and smiling. He said his doctors assured him he would be discharged “tomorrow afternoon”. Netanyahu’s office said Justice Minister Yariv Levin would take his place during the process.
Netanyahu’s office said Netanyahu will undergo the procedure at Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer. He was hospitalized on the night of July 15 with what he said was dehydration due to spending his vacation on the Sea of Galilee without adequately protecting himself from the heat wave.
On July 16, the hospital confirmed his original diagnosis of dehydration and said that additional tests conducted with a subcutaneous Holter monitor showed Netanyahu was “in complete cardiac health,” though the device would allow its medical team to continue to monitor his health.
Netanyahu 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.
In the video, Netanyahu said he would be released from the hospital in time for a key vote, which is scheduled to begin in Parliament on Sunday and continue throughout Monday.
Tens of thousands of Israelis marched to Jerusalem on Saturday hoping to rally support against judicial reform and demonstrated outside parliament ahead of a 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.