Netanyahu taken to Jerusalem hospital with high fever

Prime minister’s condition worsened after he failed to get proper rest to overcome illness, physician says; deputy health minister says all tests negative and he’s ‘feeling better’

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu coughing while addressing an annual health conference in Tel Aviv on March 27, 2018.  (AFP / JACK GUEZ)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu coughing while addressing an annual health conference in Tel Aviv on March 27, 2018. (AFP / JACK GUEZ)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was taken to a Jerusalem hospital on Tuesday evening after suffering from a high fever and coughing, his office said.

Netanyahu, 68, was ordered to undergo a series of tests at Hadassah Medical Center in Ein Karem, according to a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office.

The statement listed his symptoms as a high fever and “coughs,” without providing further details.

The hospital said the prime minister was undergoing preliminary tests. According to the Hadashot news outlet, doctors were considering keeping him overnight.

However, Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman later said Netanyahu’s tests had all come up negative and he was “feeling better.”

The Ynet news site reported that he underwent an X-ray and results were normal. According to the site, his condition was not life-threatening.

The prime minister’s condition initially worsened because he had not taken enough rest to fully recover from an illness two weeks ago, Netanyahu’s personal physician Zvi Berkowitz said in the PMO statement, sent out just before 10 p.m.

He was taken to the hospital in his normal car and not an ambulance, according to Hadashot news.

A spokesperson for the Prime Minister’s Office told the Times of Israel they were “not aware” if a temporary deputy prime minister had been appointed who would take over if Netanyahu were to be sedated or otherwise incapacitated. For now, Army Radio reported, he was conscious and capable of fulfilling all his responsibilities as prime minister.

A meeting of the high-level security cabinet scheduled for Wednesday for Wednesday was not canceled. If Netanyahu cannot attend, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman will run the meeting, Housing Minister Yoav Galant told Army Radio.

Netanyahu’s earlier illness, which was unspecified, had caused a delay in his questioning by police in a high-profile corruption investigation concerning the Bezeq telecom giant.

He was questioned in the case Monday, along with his wife Sara and son Yair.

After the questioning, the prime minister released a Hebrew-language video on his Facebook page in which he asserted that he had “complete certainty” that he would be cleared, and repeated his refrain that: “There won’t be anything, because there was nothing.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he is innocent of all charges in a video released on social media on March 26, 2018. (Screen capture:: Facebook)

At a medical check-up in August 2016, he received a clean bill of health. In the annual medical report for the prime minister, Berkowitz reported the premier’s health to be “excellent,” and said that Netanyahu maintains a “healthy lifestyle and healthy eating habits.”

However, he has undergone a number of operations while in office.

In May, the prime minister had a bladder stone removed under anesthesia.

In December 2015, Netanyahu underwent an exploratory colonoscopy, also under sedation.

The tests revealed a number of polyps, which were successfully removed, his office said at the time.

In 2013, the prime minister also underwent an emergency hernia operation, and a similar colonoscopy in 2014 as part of his annual health examination, results of which were released to the public.

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