Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu postponed his travel to Cyprus and Turkey scheduled for this week after having a pacemaker inserted on Saturday night.
“The prime minister must be under observation, as is standard for such a procedure,” Netanyahu’s spokesman Topaz Luk said. “The visits will be rescheduled soon.”
Netanyahu underwent pacemaker implantation surgery at Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer late Saturday night. Sheba doctors said the surgery was successful and the prime minister was doing well.
“As you see I'm doing excellent,” a tired-looking Netanyahu said in a video he posted on social media about 12 hours after the surgery.
Referring to the planned Knesset vote on the reasonableness standard aspect of judicial reform planned for Sunday, Netanyahu said: "We are continuing in the efforts to pass the law and to reach an agreement. Tomorrow morning, I will be joining my friends in the Knesset.”
The cabinet indefinitely postponed its weekly meeting, usually set for Sunday mornings.
Opposition leader Yair Lapid wished Netanyahu good health, adding that “it is not too late to also bring health to Israeli society.”
Justice Minister Yariv Levin served as acting prime minister while Netanyahu was incapacitated.
What is Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu going to do in Turkey?
Netanyahu planned to visit Ankara over the weekend, days after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was set to host Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas this week.
He would have been the first Israeli prime minister to visit Turkey in 15 years.
Netanyahu's visit was expected to be another step in the rapprochement between Israel and Turkey in recent years, led by Erdogan and President Isaac Herzog and adopted by the previous government.
Tensions between the countries began when Israel launched Operation Cast Lead immediately after former prime minister Ehud Olmert visited Ankara. They continued to flare during Netanyahu’s previous tenure in office. The nadir came in 2010 after the Mavi Marmara raid, in which IDF commandos boarded a ship on its way to break the blockade on the Gaza Strip. In the ensuing hand-to-hand combat, the commandos killed nine armed activists from an organization affiliated with Erdogan.
Netanyahu eventually apologized to Erdogan, under pressure from the US, and the countries reinstated their ambassadors. However, Ankara expelled the Israeli ambassador after the US moved its embassy to Jerusalem in 2018, and Israel responded in kind.
Netanyahu was also due to visit Cyprus this week.
Israel and Cyprus have been in talks for a joint natural gas project, by which Israeli gas would be sent to a liquefaction plant in Cyprus to be exported to other parts of Europe, which has sought to diversify its energy market following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.