Israel’s Netanyahu taken to hospital for heart procedure, placed under sedation

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he is undergoing a procedure to receive a pacemaker

Israel Netanyahu

FILE – Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at the weekly cabinet meeting, in the Western Wall tunnels in the Old City of Jerusalem, Sunday, May 21, 2023. Netanyahu’s office said early Sunday, July 23, that he was undergoing a procedure to receive a pacemaker. (AP Photo/ Maya Alleruzzo, Pool, File)

The Associated Press

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said early Sunday he was going to the hospital for an emergency procedure to receive a pacemaker, but vowed to press ahead with his controversial judicial overhaul plan.

In a brief videotaped statement released at 2 a.m., Netanyahu said he had been fitted with a monitoring device after being briefly hospitalized last week for what his office had said was dehydration. He said an alarm on the device beeped Saturday night, meaning he needed a pacemaker immediately.

“I feel excellent, but I listen to my doctors,” he said.

In a short statement, Netanyahu’s office said Israel’s leader would be placed under sedation. A top deputy, Justice Minister Yariv Levin, was to stand in for him.

Netanyahu’s office made the announcement as Israel faces widespread street protests over Netanyahu’s contentious judicial overhaul plan. The plan has triggered months of protests, with hundreds of thousands taking to the streets Saturday night to demonstrate against it ahead of a key parliament vote Monday.

Levin is the mastermind of the overhaul plan.

Netanyahu’s office said the prime minister would receive the pacemaker at Israel’s Sheba Hospital, where he was treated last week as well.

Netanyahu said he expected to be released from the hospital on Sunday and head to the Knesset, or parliament, ahead of the expected vote on his overhaul.

At the same time, he said he hoped to reach an agreement with his opponents.

A pacemaker is used when a patient’s heart is beating too slowly, which can cause fainting spells, according to the National Institutes of Health. It can also be used to treat heart failure. By sending electrical pulses to the heart, the device increases or maintains a person’s heartbeat at a normal rhythm, allowing the heart to pump blood to the body at a normal rate.

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