Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday morning he was going to hospital for an emergency procedure to receive a pacemaker, but vowed to press ahead with his controversial plan to overhaul the judiciary.
In a brief videotaped statement released at 2 a.m., Netanyahu said he had been fitted with a monitoring device after being briefly hospitalized last week with what his office said was dehydration. He said an alarm on the device sounded on Saturday evening, meaning he needed a pacemaker immediately.
“I feel fine, but I listen to my doctors,” he said.
In a brief statement, Netanyahu’s office said the Israeli leader would be sedated. A senior deputy, Justice Minister Yariv Levin, was to replace him.
Netanyahu’s office made the announcement as Israel faces widespread street protests against Netanyahu’s controversial judicial overhaul plan. The plan sparked months of protests, with hundreds of thousands of people taking to the streets on Saturday night to demonstrate against it ahead of a key parliamentary vote on Monday.
Levin is the mastermind of the redesign plan.
Netanyahu’s office said the prime minister would receive the pacemaker at Israel’s Sheba Hospital, where he was also treated last week.
Netanyahu said he expected to be discharged from hospital on Sunday and visit the Knesset, or parliament, ahead of the scheduled vote on his overhaul.
At the same time, he said he hoped to reach an agreement with his opponents.
A pacemaker is used when a patient’s heart beats too slowly, which can cause fainting, according to the National Institutes of Health. It can also be used to treat heart failure. By sending electrical impulses to the heart, the device increases or maintains a person’s heart rate at a normal rate, allowing the heart to pump blood to the body at a normal rate.