Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to undergo heart surgery overnight to be fitted with a pacemaker, he said in a brief statement on Twitter early Sunday morning.
“A week ago I was fitted with a monitoring device. That device beeped this evening and said I must have a pacemaker and that I must do this already tonight,” Netanyahu said in a 36-second video clip.
“I feel great, but I need to listen to my doctors,” he added.
While Netanyahu is incapacitated, Justice Minister Yariv Levin will serve as acting prime minister, the Times of Israel reports. Netanyahu hopes to be released from Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan in time to take part in votes on the coalition’s controversial judicial reform on Monday or even earlier.
Last Saturday, Netanyahu was rushed to the hospital after reportedly fainting at home. His office made no reference to a loss of consciousness, stating only that the prime minister had felt dizzy. The veteran politician said he had spent the afternoon in the hot Sun at the Sea of Galilee “without a hat, without water,” and advised people to stay out of the Sun and stay hydrated.
Doctors, however, fitted Netanyahu with a heart implant for monitoring cardiac arrhythmia before releasing him from the hospital after undergoing a series of tests.
The 73-year-old is not known to have any chronic health conditions, and his doctors insist that his heart is in “excellent condition.” However, his office has not released its required annual update on his health since 2016, and the Kan public broadcaster reported that a number of Israeli officials have complained regarding the lack of transparency.
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