By Dan Williams
JERUSALEM (RockedBuzz via Reuters) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu checked into hospital on Saturday with apparent dehydration after a coastal break during a heatwave, delaying his weekly cabinet meeting even as he pleaded fine.
Netanyahu’s office said the 73-year-old was admitted to Sheba Hospital, near his private residence, after experiencing dizziness, and would stay overnight.
In a video from the hospital, a smiling Netanyahu said he took a vacation Friday on the Sea of Galilee in temperatures reaching 38 degrees Celsius (100.4 Fahrenheit).
“Thank God, I feel really good,” she said.
“I’m asking all of you to spend less time in the sun, drink more water, and may we all have a good new week.”
Israel’s longest-serving leader is in the midst of a domestic crisis with protests against his religious-nationalist coalition’s push for judicial reform before parliament disperses for the summer on July 30.
That furore has contributed to strained relations with the United States, as well as an increase in Israeli-Palestinian violence and progress in Iran’s nuclear program.
Netanyahu’s office said the cabinet meeting scheduled for Sunday would instead be held on Monday.
Israeli media said he was fully conscious en route to Sheba and entered the emergency room. No procedures have been enacted to incapacitate him or determine who could replace him, the reports added.
When then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon suffered a stroke in 2006, he was succeeded by his deputy, Ehud Olmert. Justice Minister Yariv Levin has deputized for Netanyahu on trips abroad.
Netanyahu’s office said he was hospitalized on the recommendation of his doctor after complaining of “slight dizziness”.
“The preliminary diagnosis is dehydration,” he said, adding that more routine testing was underway.
First elected to the top in 1996, Netanyahu has been both dynamic and polarizing. He spearheaded a free-market revolution in Israel while displaying distrust of internationally backed peace with the Palestinians and world powers’ negotiations to limit Iran’s nuclear program.
With hundreds of military reservists threatening not to heed summoning orders to protest government reforms, Israel’s Channel 13 on Wednesday aired audio of Netanyahu shouting in a cabinet session that such insubordination was “inconceivable “.
Critics fear the judicial overhaul plan aims to curb the independence of Netanyahu’s court, which is on trial over corruption charges it denies. He says the reforms would balance out the branches of government.
“Wishing the prime minister a full recovery and good health,” tweeted Yair Lapid, the centrist opposition leader.
In Washington, a White House National Security Council spokesman said, “We wish him a speedy recovery.”
In early October, Netanyahu fell ill during the Jewish fast of Yom Kippur and was even briefly hospitalized.
(Additional reporting by Paul Grant; Writing by Dan Williams; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne and Frances Kerry)