Benjamin Netanyahu discharged from hospital after heart tests | Benjamin Netanyahu


Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has been discharged from hospital after heart monitoring tests showed no irregularities during an overnight admission for dehydration.

Netanyahu, 73, was taken to hospital near his private residence in the coastal town of Caesarea on Saturday afternoon after complaining of dizziness and kept overnight for observation, his office said.

In a video statement issued from the hospital, Israel’s longest-serving leader appeared to be in good spirits. He said he and his wife had spent a day at the Sea of Galilee on Friday “in the sun, without a hat, without water: not a good idea”. Israel is in the middle of a summer heatwave.

Sheba medical centre confirmed its original diagnosis of dehydration on Sunday and said that while Netanyahu’s heart was in “excellent condition”, a heart monitoring device had been implanted “for the sake of routine monitoring”.

The weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday was postponed until Monday as a result of the prime minister’s hospital visit.

Netanyahu is generally thought to be in good health, although he was admitted to hospital briefly during the election campaign in October last year after feeling unwell during prayers for Yom Kippur.

In 2010, the prime minister’s office released a protocol requiring annual public reports on the incumbent’s health, but Netanyahu’s staff have not released this since 2016.

Netanyahu returned to office in December at the head of a coalition of far-right and ultra-religious parties, which has faced intense opposition to its plans to overhaul the judicial system.

Supporters of the changes argue that they are needed to rein in what they see as a leftwing bias in the decisions of the supreme court, which serves a prominent role in a country with no formal constitution and only one legislative chamber.

Critics say they fear democratic backsliding and allege that the overhaul will aid Netanyahu’s fight against graft charges, which he denies.

The issue has given rise to an unprecedented protest movement, including pressure from the technology sector and military reservists, damaged Israel’s economy, and drawn criticism of the government from international allies such as the US.

Israel is gearing up for an intense two weeks before the Knesset breaks up for summer recess. Ministers are pushing to pass a key part of the government’s controversial overhaul into law before the parliamentary term comes to a close at the end of the month, despite planned protests and strikes across the country.

On leaving hospital, Netanyahu expelled a prominent member of his Likud party for comments relating to the Holocaust. Ethnic tensions between Ashkenazi Jews, of European descent, and Mizrahi Jews, of Middle Eastern descent, have been whipped up by the political and constitutional crisis.

Footage circulated on social media showed Itzik Zarka cursing and spitting at people near the town of Beit Shean demonstrating on Saturday against the judicial overhaul. Zarka shouted: “It’s not for nothing that 6 million were killed … I’m proud that 6 million of you were burned.”

In a statement, Netanyahu said: “We will not tolerate such disgraceful behaviour in the Likud movement.”

Also on Sunday, a Palestinian gunman opened fire on a car in the occupied West Bank, wounding three Israelis, including two girls, Israeli authorities said. The suspect fled the scene of the shooting but was later captured by the Israel Defence Forces.

In addition to Netanyahu’s political headaches, Israel and the West Bank are experiencing the bloodiest year on record since the end of the second intifada, or Palestinian uprising, in 2005. More than 150 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since the start of 2023, and 26 people have been killed in Palestinian attacks against Israelis, according to figures collated by rights groups.


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