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Miri Regev, prime minister of Israel… for at least half an hour

Controversial culture minister will take the reins while Netanyahu undergoes what his office calls a ‘periodic gastrointestinal follow-up test’ Friday

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Culture Minister Miri Regev shake hands during the opening of the winter session of the Knesset on October 23, 2017. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Culture Minister Miri Regev shake hands during the opening of the winter session of the Knesset on October 23, 2017. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev will serve as acting prime minister on Friday while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu undergoes a medical examination, the Prime Minister’s Office said.

The PMO said Thursday that during the procedure, which it termed a “periodic gastrointestinal follow-up test,” Netanyahu will be sedated for half-an-hour.

It did not say when the prime minister would fully resume his duties.

With no permanent deputy prime minister, Netanyahu has taken to naming different cabinet ministers to serve as acting prime minister while undergoing medical procedures under sedation or traveling abroad.

In recent years he has appointed Likud ministers Yisrael Katz, Gilad Erdan, Ze’ev Elkin, Yariv Levin and Yuval Steinitz to the post while he was indisposed.

Regev, a former Israel Defense Forces spokesperson and a controversial and outspoken Netanyahu loyalist, was named acting prime minister in June while Netanyahu traveled to Greece, marking the first time a woman was appointed as acting prime minister under Netanyahu. Former foreign minister Tzipi Livni would regularly fill in for then-prime minister Ehud Olmert.

Raoul Wootliff contributed to this report.

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