Israeli prime minister says he feels ‘great’ and expects to be released in time for a key vote on his judicial changes.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been hospitalised for an emergency procedure to receive a pacemaker ahead of a key parliamentary vote on his controversial judicial overhaul plan.
In a video statement early on Sunday, Netanyahu said he had been fitted with a monitoring device after being briefly hospitalised last week for what his office said was dehydration.
The 73-year-old leader said an alarm on the device beeped on Saturday night, meaning he needed a pacemaker immediately.
“I feel great, but I need to listen to my doctors,” he said.
A pacemaker is used when a patient’s heart is beating too slowly. By sending electrical pulses to the heart, it increases or maintains a person’s heartbeat at a normal rhythm, allowing the heart to pump blood to the body at a normal rate.
Netanyahu, who was standing in the video and smiling, said his doctors assured him he would be discharged from the hospital by Sunday afternoon.
In a separate statement, Netanyahu’s office said the Israeli leader would be placed under sedation. A top deputy, Justice Minister Yariv Levin, was to stand in for him.
The prime minister will undergo the procedure at Sheba Medical Center in Tel HaShomer, the statement added.
The announcement came as hundreds of thousands of protesters took to the streets in Tel Aviv and other cities for the 29th consecutive week, urging the Israeli government to shelve its judicial plan.
Netanyahu said in the video he would be discharged from hospital in time for the expected vote on his overhaul, scheduled to start at parliament on Sunday and last throughout Monday.
At the same time, he suggested that last-minute agreements could be reached with his opponents.
Critics fear the judicial changes aim to curb court independence by Netanyahu, who is on trial for corruption which he denies.
Netanyahu, who is in his record sixth term as prime minister, says the reforms would balance out branches of government.
The furore has contributed to strains in relations with the United States, as have surging Israeli-Palestinian violence and progress in Iran’s nuclear programme.
Washington has urged Netanyahu to seek broad agreements over any judicial reforms.