The Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahuwas subjected to a emergency cardiac intervention and recovered this Sunday. The operation was carried out while the debate was taking place over the controversial judicial reform of his government, which is generating massive protests in the country.
The president’s doctors said Sunday that had a pacemaker fitted without incident and that Netanyahu, 73, was doing well. He was expected to be released later in the day, according to his office.
But the tension iba on the rise on sunday after the start of a marathon parliamentary debate on the first piece of the reform, ahead of a vote in the chamber that would make it law on Monday.
Mass protests were expected to continue. Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets across Israel on Saturday night, as thousands of people marched on Jerusalem and camped out near the Knesset (Israeli parliament), ahead of Monday’s vote.
Netanyahu’s sudden hospitalization added another dizzying twist to an already dramatic and momentous succession of events for Israel’s future. Israel’s longest-ruling president faced the greatest challenge to his leadership, as did the worst internal crisis in the country that shook the economy, opened fractures in the army and put to the test the delicate social fabric that holds the country together.
legislators started the debate despite Netanyahu’s hospitalization. In a fiery speech to open the session, Simcha Rothman, the main proponent of the plan, lashed out at the courts, saying they were damaging Israel’s democratic foundations by arbitrarily overturning government decisions.
“This little clause is intended to restore democracy to the state of Israel,” Rothman said. “I ask the members of the Knesset to prove the proposal.”
Even so, the hospitalization of the prime minister affected the routine of the government. The weekly cabinet meeting scheduled for Sunday morning was postponed, with Army Radio indicating that a security assessment of the effect of the legal dispute on the army had also been removed from the prime minister’s agenda.
The president’s office said he had been sedated during the operation and that a senior member of the government, Justice Minister Yariv Levin, had substituted for him during the process. Levin, a person close to the prime minister, He is the ideologue of judicial reform.
In a short video before speaking, Netanyahu said he was feeling “excellent” and planned to press ahead with judicial reform as soon as he was discharged, something he hoped to do in time to go to the Knesset for a vote on Monday.
From the hospital, Netanyahu said he would continue to try to reach an agreement with his rivals and that last-minute efforts were underway to reach a solution. But it was not clear whether such efforts would bear fruit.
“I want you to know that tomorrow morning I will join my colleagues in the Knesset,” Netanyahu said.
President Isaac Herzog, whose role is largely ceremonial, returned from the United States and immediately went to visit Netanyahu in the hospital.
“We are in times of emergency,” Herzog declared. “We have to come to an agreement.”
Herzog had planned to meet with opposition leader Yair Lid and Benny Gantz, the leader of National Unity, another opposition party.
Netanyahu was rushed to hospital in the middle of the night a week after being hospitalized for what doctors described as dehydration. He was discharged after being fitted with a device to monitor his heart, but was re-admitted on Sunday because he had shown abnormalities, indicating the need for a pacemaker.
Lawmakers were scheduled to vote on a piece of the bill that would limit the Supreme Court’s oversight powers by preventing judges from striking down government decisions on the grounds that they are “unreasonable.” The vote on Monday could mean the proval of the first important part of the reform.
Netanyahu and his far-right allies announced the reform plan in January, days after taking office. They say the bill is necessary to limit what they see as the excessive power of unelected judges. His detractors say the plan will destroy the country’s system of controls and guarantees and set it on a path toward authoritarianism. US President Joe Biden has urged Netanyahu to stop the plan and seek a broad consensus.
Netanyahu halted the process in March under intense pressure from protests and strikes that paralyzed flights out of the country and paralyzed part of the economy. When deal talks failed, he said his government would go ahead with the reform.
With information from AP