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Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu Receives Pacemaker Amidst Judicial Reform Protests

Netanyahu undergoes successful surgery as nationwide demonstrations intensify

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been fitted with a pacemaker in a surgery that took place in the early hours of Sunday at the Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan. In a video message before the operation, the premier said, on Monday he would attend a key judicial reform vote that has intensified the nationwide protests.

“The operation finished smoothly without any issues and Netanyahu was in good condition,” said the Times of Israel in a report while quoting the hospital. During the surgery that required Netanyahu to be sedated, Justice Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Yariv Levin served as the interim prime minister. 

73-year-old Netanyahu was hospitalized exactly a week ago after losing consciousness in his private home in Caesarea and subsequently smacking his head on the floor.

After the leader was discharged, the hospital in a statement had said, “at no point was any heart rhythm disorder diagnosed.” However, “we decided to use a subcutaneous Holter, as is customary, to allow the prime minister’s medical professional team to continue regular monitoring.”

Israelis lift national flags as they rally at the western wall in Jerusalem’s old city on July 23, to pray for unity following the political split over the government’s judicial overhaul bill. MENAHEM KAHANA/GETTY IMAGES

The device, also known as a cardiac event recorder, is implanted under the skin of the chest or shoulder. They are commonly used if a patient experiences an unexplained stroke, fainting or irregular heartbeat.

“A week ago they put in a monitoring device. That device beeped this evening and said I need to receive a pacemaker. I need to do this already tonight. I’m feeling excellent, but I’m listening to my doctors,” said Netanyahu who took to Twitter and posted a video message, hours before the surgery.  

Netanyahu’s surgery came amid what many consider to be Israel’s gravest domestic crisis since its founding. Thousands rallied against the controversial judicial reform bill on Saturday that faces a final vote on Monday, July 24. The protesters had set up a ‘tent city’ near Knesset after the multi-day march.

The bill, which passed in its first reading, would restrict the use of the “reasonability” clause, which allows the courts to overturn executive orders. Moreover, this reform would also allow the government a greater say in the appointment of judges.

Some of the protesters blocked the traffic on Tel Aviv’s Ayalon Highway, as part of demonstrations against the judicial overhaul. The demonstrations on Saturday came days after Netanyahu’s government gave preliminary approval to a crucial bill that is a part of the overhaul, reported The Times of Israel.

Produced in association with Jewish News Syndicate

Edited by Bhujaya Ray Chowdhury and Judy J. Rotich

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