The Israeli government’s controversial plan to enact a law on Monday to limit judicial power is in jeopardy after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was rushed to the hospital early Sunday for surgery to implant a pacemaker.
Sunday morning doctors at Sheba Medical Center east of Tel Aviv announced that the surprise treatment was successful and that “the prime minister is doing very well.” A hospital official indicated that Mr. Netanyahu will likely remain in the hospital until Monday.
A pacemaker is a tiny electronic device implanted in the chest to regulate the heart’s rhythm in the case of arrhythmia or other heart rhythm issues that could lead to cardiac arrest. Small pacemakers can also be implanted by a less invasive process that does not require a chest incision.
The tweet below verifies the news:
Netanyahu Fitted With Pacemaker for Heart Defect as Israel’s Turmoil Intensifies https://t.co/wuiZFGtxaV
— Tim Hogan 浩勤 (@TimInHonolulu) July 23, 2023
It was uncertain if a vote in Parliament over the judicial overhaul would go through on Monday as planned, thus the government’s weekly cabinet meeting was postponed until Monday. Mr. Netanyahu underwent surgery at a time when Israel was experiencing what many consider to be its worst domestic crisis since its creation 75 years ago.
After hours of unprecedented street protests, threats of labor strikes, and warnings from thousands of military reservists that they will refuse to enlist for military duty if the judicial makeover goes forward, the prime minister was taken to the hospital.
Despite Mr. Netanyahu’s hospitalization, his government appeared resolved to move forward with the plan on Sunday. On Sunday morning, Parliament began debating a bill that would ban the Supreme Court from striking down government actions or nominations based on the basis of reasonableness. There was supposed to be a 26-hour debate.
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Thousands of Israelis prayed together at the Western Wall, a Jewish holy place in Jerusalem’s Old City, before the discussion began, sending a message of solidarity to the government as public figures made desperate pleas for compromise.
As Mr. Netanyahu’s supporters insisted the bill would be passed with or without consensus, the political chasm only widened. Later in the day, there would be other, equally sized public demonstrations in support of and opposition to the judicial reform.
The current situation has put significant stress on Mr. Netanyahu. On Saturday night, he was accused by a group of ex-army commanders, police commissioners, and intelligence agency directors of splitting the country and putting its security at risk by pushing the judicial change plan.
The government led by Mr. Netanyahu would like to restrict the Supreme Court’s ability to overturn executive orders. The prime minister has argued that the plan will strengthen democracy by separating the powers of elected lawmakers and judges.
Opponents argue that this will allow Mr. Netanyahu’s far-right ruling coalition, the most ultraconservative and ultranationalist in Israeli history, to establish a less pluralistic society and eliminate a fundamental check on government excess in a country without a written constitution.
Some worry that Mr. Netanyahu, who is on trial for corruption, may use the opportunity presented by a weakened Supreme Court to enact additional legislation designed to damage the case against him. Mr. Netanyahu strongly refutes the allegations of wrongdoing and any suggestion that he would use his position to interfere with the trial.
Tens of thousands marched into Jerusalem on Saturday night from the mountains outside the city, blocking sections of a major highway with a sea of blue and white Israeli flags, marking the 29th week in a row of demonstrations against the renovation. Some of the trekkers had started out on Tuesday night from Tel Aviv, around 40 miles away.
In addition, a tent city has sprung up in a Jerusalem park directly beneath the city’s Parliament building. The country’s major business alliance and the country’s top labor union had a late-night emergency meeting and said that they were planning a national strike.
In addition, on Friday, 1,000 Air Force reservists made a similar threat, and now an organization representing 10,000 military reservists has declared its members will quit from military duty if the overhaul goes ahead without social consent.
The defense establishment in Israel is worried about the country’s military preparedness after hearing the reservists’ warnings. The Air Force in particular relies heavily on reservists to maintain operational readiness for the I.D.F.
On Saturday night, a group of fifteen former military and police leaders and directors of foreign and domestic intelligence agencies publicly accused Mr. Netanyahu of being “the person directly responsible for the serious damage to the I.D.F. and Israel’s security.”
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The prime minister’s heart began beating irregularly a few hours later. Mr. Netanyahu was brought to Sheba last Sunday after what one of the doctors there described as a fainting episode; less than a week later, a heart-monitoring device installed there picked up on the problem.
The Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, was taken to the hospital amid a heat wave after his office reported that he had experienced moderate dizziness and doctors diagnosed him with dehydration. However, he stayed the night in the hospital, went through cardiac testing, and was discharged with a permanent heart monitor.
Prof. Roy Beinart, head of Sheba’s rhythm disturbances and pacing department, said the data from the gadget was “an indication for urgent pacemaker implantation.”
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