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Israel’s Netanyahu in hospital after getting pacemaker

JERUSALEM, July 23 (Reuters) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was fitted with a pacemaker on Sunday after experiencing a heart arrhythmia, and was under observation in the cardiac ward of a Tel Aviv-area hospital, his doctors said.

“The implant went smoothly without any complications. He is not in a life-threatening condition and he feels great and is returning to his daily routine,” said Roy Beinart, who manages the arrhythmia centre at Sheba Medical Center.

Netanyahu had been given a heart monitor a week ago after being hospitalised for what he said was dehydration from holidaying at the Sea of Galilee without properly protecting himself from a heatwave.

The 73-year-old leader was summoned urgently on Saturday night after a “temporary arrhythmia” was detected, Beinart said.

Before the implant, a smiling Netanyahu recorded a video declaring: “I feel great, but I need to listen to my doctors.”

Netanyahu’s office said on Sunday he was expected to be discharged later in the day. Meanwhile the weekly cabinet meeting was postponed.

He faces a domestic crisis in his record sixth term as prime minister, with protests surging against his religious-nationalist coalition’s push for judicial changes.

Tens of thousands of Israelis marched to Jerusalem on Saturday, hoping to drum up support against the judicial overhaul. They rallied outside parliament ahead of Monday’s vote on a bill that would limit some of the Supreme Court’s powers.

Critics fear the judicial changes aim to curb court independence by Netanyahu, who is on trial for corruption, which he denies. Netanyahu 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. In his video, Netanyahu suggested that last minute agreements could be reached.

First elected to top office in 1996, Netanyahu has been both dynamic and polarising. He spearheaded a free-market revolution in Israel while showing distrust of internationally backed peacemaking with the Palestinians and world powers’ negotiations to cap Iran’s nuclear programme.

In early October, a few weeks before winning a national election, Netanyahu fell ill during the Jewish fast of Yom Kippur and was briefly hospitalised.

Reporting by Maayan Lubell and Ari Rabinovitch; Editing by Paul Simao and Richard Chang

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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