Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu received 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 occurred at Tel Hashomer Hospital, the statement said. The prime minister was sedated during the surgery.
“During the proceedings, the Minister of Justice and Deputy Prime Minister Yariv Levin will take his place,” the statement added.
Netanyahu, 73, earlier announced on Twitter that he would be fitted with the device, which sends electrical pulses to the heart.
Netanyahu’s operation was triggered by a warning from a heart monitor that he had “transient heart block,” Eyal Nof, head of the Invasive Electrophysiology Service at Sheba Medical Center, said Sunday.
“He was rushed to Sheba Medical Center,” where the operation took place, the doctor said in a video statement.
“During the night we implanted a pacemaker. Everything was good. The prime minister is feeling very well this morning,” he said.
Benjamin Netanyahu leaves hospital after being implanted with a heart monitor
The Cleveland Clinic, one of the leading American medical centers, says that transient heart block “is when the electrical signal that controls the heartbeat is partially or completely blocked. This causes his heart to beat slowly or skip beats and his heart is unable to pump blood effectively. Symptoms include dizziness, fainting, tiredness, and shortness of breath. Pacemaker implantation is a common treatment.”
Netanyahu checked into the Sheba Medical Center a week ago. He was diagnosed with dehydration at the time, but he was also fitted with a subcutaneous heart monitor, the hospital added.
At the time, his office said that he had been experiencing dizziness.
But Netanyahu did faint last Saturday before his previous hospital admission, one of the Sheba Medical Center doctors 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 Pacemakers at Sheba Medical Center.
Netanyahu had a known blood vessel disorder, which is also called heart block, when he was admitted to Sheba Medical Center last week, Beinart said. That’s why doctors decided to implant the heart monitor, he said.
Doctors had known about the condition “for many years,” he added.
Israeli media reported at the time that the prime minister had passed out, but his office only said that he had experienced dizziness.
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 government in a country without a written constitution. The controversial judicial reform plan sparked thousands of protests in Israel in recent weeks.