Israel’s Netanyahu taken to hospital after feeling unwell, undergoing assessments

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Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was admitted to hospital on Saturday with dizziness from apparent dehydration but was in good condition, his office said, and there were no indications of a potential handover of power.

The 73-year-old, who is Israel’s longest-serving leader, had been on holiday at the Sea of Galilee on Friday during a heatwave, his office’s statement said.


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On Saturday, he was taken to Sheba Hospital in the town of Tel Hashomer, close to his private residence in coastal Caesarea. Israeli media said he was fully conscious en route to Sheba and that he walked into the emergency room.

Channel 12 TV said he had suffered chest pain but there was no confirmation of that. He was not undergoing sedation and no procedures were underway to declare him incapacitated, it added.

Netanyahu’s office said he was admitted on his physician’s recommendation after complaining of “light dizziness.”

“Initial tests came back normal, without findings. The preliminary diagnosis is dehydration,” it said, adding further routine tests were underway. An earlier statement said his condition was fine.

It was not immediately clear who might replace Netanyahu in the event of an emergency succession.

When then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was felled by a stroke in 2006, he was succeeded by his deputy, Ehud Olmert. Justice Minister Yariv Levin has stood in for Netanyahu during foreign trips.

Controversial figure

First elected to top office in 1996 at the head of the conservative Likud party, Netanyahu has been both dynamic and polarizing. He spearheaded a free-market revolution in Israel while showing distrust of internationally-backed peacemaking with the Palestinians and negotiations to cap Iran’s nuclear program.

He is in the grip of a domestic furor over his plan to overhaul the judiciary, which has set off unprecedented protests by Israelis worried for the future independence of the courts.

Netanyahu is himself no stranger to the docks, after being indicted in three corruption cases. He denies wrongdoing and has cast the trial as a politicized witch-hunt.

With hundreds of military reservists threatening not to heed call-up orders in protest at the government reforms, Israel’s Channel 13 on Wednesday aired audio of Netanyahu shouting in a cabinet session that such insubordination was “inconceivable.”

“I wish the prime minister a full recovery and good health,” tweeted Yair Lapid, the centrist leader of the opposition.

In early October, Netanyahu took ill during the Jewish fast of Yom Kippur and was also briefly hospitalized.

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