Netanyahu’s trips to Turkey and Cyprus postponed after he has pacemaker implanted

Premier’s scheduled visit to Ankara to meet with Turkish President Erdogan would have been first meeting of countries’ leaders since 2008

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leads the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem on July 9, 2023. (Marc Israel Sellem/Pool/Flash90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leads the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem on July 9, 2023. (Marc Israel Sellem/Pool/Flash90)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s planned trips to Turkey and Cyprus were postponed Sunday after the premier underwent surgery to have a pacemaker implanted.

The prime minister’s planned trip to Cyprus on Tuesday was for a summit with Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

He was then supposed to meet with Turkish President President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday in what would have been the first visit by an Israeli prime minister to Ankara since Ehud Olmert met with Erdogan in 2008.

Last year, President Isaac Herzog met with Erdogan in Turkey, and then-prime minister Yair Lapid met with Erdogan in New York in the fall.

According to a statement from Erdogan’s office, he and Netanyahu were to discuss “the latest developments in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as well as other topical international issues.”

Early Sunday morning,  Netanyahu underwent successful surgery at Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan to be fitted with a pacemaker, a week after he was hospitalized for dehydration and had a heart monitoring device implanted.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan talks to journalists during a joint news conference with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy following their meeting in Istanbul, Turkey, July 8, 2023. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

A 2019 German study found that it is possible to fly just two days after an uncomplicated pacemaker insertion, while the NHS in the UK recommends waiting at least six weeks, or until after the first post-operative follow-up appointment.

A pacemaker is a device that stimulates one’s heart to control or increase the heartbeat if it is too slow or irregular. Implanting it usually takes several hours and recipients are typically discharged from the hospital the same day or the next day, according to the US hospital Mayo Clinic and Britain’s National Health Service.

Justice Minister Yariv Levin, the architect of the judicial overhaul, filled in as acting prime minister during Netanyahu’s surgery, which required the premier to be sedated.

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