Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu fitted with a pacemaker

By Oren Liebermann, Hadas Gold, Amir Tal, Richard Allen Greene and Zoe Sottile, CNN

CNN  —  Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was fitted with a pacemaker early Sunday morning – a surgery performed just before the Knesset is set to vote on a controversial judicial reform bill, according to a statement from his office.

The procedure happened at Tel Hashomer Hospital, says the statement. The prime minister was sedated during the surgery.

“During the procedure, the Minister of Justice and Deputy Prime Minister Yariv Levin will take his place,” the statement added.

Netanyahu’s operation was triggered by a warning from a heart monitor that he had “transient heart block,” said Eyal Nof, head of Invasive Electrophysiology Service at the Sheba Medical Center on Sunday.

“He was admitted urgently to Sheba Medical Center” – where the operation was carried out, the doctor said in a video statement.

“During the night we implanted a pacemaker. All went well. The prime minister is feeling very well this morning,” he said.

The Cleveland Clinic, a top American medical center, says transient heart block “is when the electrical signal that controls your heartbeat is partially or completely blocked. This makes your heart beat slowly or skip beats and your heart can’t pump blood effectively. Symptoms include dizziness, fainting, tiredness and shortness of breath. Pacemaker implantation is a common treatment.”

Netanyahu was admitted to Sheba Medical Center a week ago. He was diagnosed with dehydration at the time but also fitted with a subcutaneous heart monitor, the hospital added.

At the time his office said he had been experiencing dizziness.

But Netanyahu did faint last Saturday before his previous hospital admission, one of the doctors at Sheba Medical Center said Sunday.

He was admitted last week “because he had a fainting episode,” said Roy Beinart, director of the Davidai Center for Rhythm Disturbances and Pacing at Sheba Medical Center.

Israeli media reported at the time that the prime minister had fainted, but his office said only that he had experienced dizziness.

Netanyahu, 73, earlier announced on Twitter he would be fitted with the device, which sends electrical pulses to the heart.

“I want to update you on what’s going to happen,” Netanyahu said in the video.

“Last week they gave me a monitoring device. The device beeped and said I need a pacemaker, and I need to do that already tonight. I feel great, but I listen to my doctors,” he added.

“The doctors tell me that I will be free tomorrow afternoon already,” said the prime minister. “I will be discharged from the hospital ready to arrive at the Knesset for the vote.”

The Knesset is scheduled to begin voting on a bill that would strip the Supreme Court of the power to declare government decisions “unreasonable,” removing one of the few checks on the government in a country that has no written Constitution. The controversial judicial overhaul plan has drawn thousands-wide protests in Israel over the past few weeks.

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