Latest World News: Israeli PM Netanyahu gets pacemaker ahead of justice vote

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu underwent surgery to implant a pacemaker on Sunday ahead of a debate in parliament on a controversial judicial overhaul bill that has brought tens of thousands of protesters to the streets.

The judicial overhaul proposed by Netanyahu’s far-right government has divided the nation and sparked one of the biggest protests in Israel’s history since its unveiling in January.

Opponents see the proposed overhaul as a threat to Israeli democracy.

The operation on Netanyahu was performed at the Sheba Medical Center, according to a statement from his office, while Deputy Prime Minister Yariv Levin replaced him.

A week ago, Netanyahu, 73, was discharged from the same medical center after being hospitalized overnight following complaints of dizziness.

“A week ago I was implanted with a monitoring device and this device beeped tonight and said I had to have a pacemaker. I have to do it tonight, I feel fine and I’m listening to my doctors,” Netanyahu said in a video posted to his Facebook page.

The hospital later confirmed that he was in good condition after the overnight operation.

“He will remain under medical supervision in the cardiology department,” he said in a statement.

Netanyahu’s latest health alert comes as lawmakers prepare to debate the judicial overhaul bill in parliament later on Sunday, which will be followed by a vote on Monday.

“The doctors tell me that I will be free and that I will be discharged from the hospital tomorrow afternoon and that I can go and vote in the Knesset,” the prime minister said before the operation.

The final vote on Monday will be on the “reasonableness” clause by which judges can overrule government decisions.

Mass demonstrations

Netanyahu’s government, which includes far-right and ultra-Orthodox Jewish allies, plans to curtail the Supreme Court’s powers granted under the clause, arguing that the changes are necessary to ensure a better checks and balances.

Critics accuse Netanyahu, who is on trial on corruption charges he denies, of trying to use the reforms to overturn possible judgments against him. He denies the charge.

The “reasonableness” clause was recently cited by Israel’s top court to force Netanyahu to remove an ultra-Orthodox cabinet member following a previous conviction for tax evasion.

If approved in the final vote on Monday, it would be the first major piece of the proposed legal overhaul to become law.

Other proposed reforms include giving the government a greater say in the appointment of judges.

The protests drew support from all political and social strata, including left and right, secular and religious groups, peace activists and military reservists, as well as blue-collar workers and tech workers crucial to the country’s economy.

On Saturday, tens of thousands of people gathered in Tel Aviv, the country’s commercial center, and near the parliament in Jerusalem, as well as elsewhere in the country.

In Tel Aviv, protesters gathered chanting pro-democracy slogans and beating drums in their 29th consecutive weekly rally.

“Democracy or revolution! Respect existence or expect resistance!” chanted protesters, many of whom wore shirts with “Democracy” printed on them.

“The government is not listening to us, that means it’s the beginning of a new era, a bad era,” Idit Dekel, 55, told AFP.

“For me, it’s catastrophic. It’s the start of something we’ve never experienced before,” added Dekel, a technology employee.

“Extreme Government”

On Saturday evening, thousands of protesters also entered Jerusalem and gathered near parliament, the Supreme Court and the prime minister’s residence.

They arrived after a multi-day march that began in Tel Aviv earlier in the week.

“This government is an extreme and religious government, and I hope we will overthrow it as soon as possible,” said Guy Maidan, who had participated in the march with his family.

In the evening, many set up makeshift tents to camp near the Knesset as lawmakers begin their debate over the “reasonableness clause”.

Protester Keren Mor said she is campaigning for the rights of all communities.

“Women, LGBTQ, Arabs, Hasidics, all feel their rights are being taken away by the government,” Mor told AFP at the protest in Jerusalem.

“They are trying to overthrow all of democracy, basic civil law and human rights, and we are here to stop it.”

The protesters also received support from more than 1,100 Air Force reservists, including fighter pilots, who threatened to suspend their voluntary service if the reforms become law.

The proposed overhaul has also drawn international criticism, including from US President Joe Biden.

Late Thursday, Netanyahu said he was “still trying to reach an agreement with the opposition”, mainly on the “reasonableness” clause.

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An Overview of Global Events in 2023

In 2023, the world witnessed a myriad of events that left a lasting impact on global affairs. From political developments and economic shifts to environmental challenges and breakthroughs in science and technology, the year was marked by significant changes and a sense of urgency for collective action. Here’s an overview of some of the latest world news in 2023.

Political Unrest and Diplomatic Strides:
In the political arena, several regions experienced unrest and geopolitical tensions. The ongoing conflict in the Middle East continued to dominate headlines, with efforts towards peace and stability remaining elusive. However, there were also moments of diplomatic breakthroughs as nations engaged in dialogues to ease tensions and work towards lasting solutions.

Economic Transformations:
The global economy faced both challenges and opportunities. Trade disputes between major powers affected markets, while some countries grappled with debt crises. On the other hand, emerging economies showed resilience and promising growth, fueling optimism for a more balanced global economic landscape.

Technological Advancements:
Innovation surged forward in the tech industry, with breakthroughs in artificial intelligence, renewable energy, and space exploration. Quantum computing achieved milestones, promising radical transformations across industries. Renewable energy sources gained traction, with many countries setting ambitious goals to combat climate change.

Climate Crisis and Environmental Resilience:
As the climate crisis intensified, extreme weather events wreaked havoc in various parts of the world. Wildfires, hurricanes, and floods reminded humanity of the urgent need for climate action. In response, governments and communities across the globe doubled down on efforts to reduce carbon emissions, invest in sustainable infrastructure, and protect biodiversity.

Health and Pandemic Management:
Health remained a global priority as countries continued to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. With the emergence of new variants, vaccination efforts and public health measures remained crucial to curbing the spread of the virus. There were also significant advancements in medical research and technology, offering hope for better preparedness in handling future health crises.

Sports and Cultural Milestones:
Amidst the challenges, the world found moments of joy and unity through sports and culture. International sporting events brought together athletes from diverse backgrounds, promoting solidarity and camaraderie. Cultural exchanges and celebrations showcased the richness of human diversity and fostered mutual understanding.

In conclusion, the year 2023 was a dynamic period filled with significant events that shaped the course of history. From political unrest to technological advancements and environmental challenges, the world witnessed the complexities of the global landscape. While obstacles remained, there were also encouraging developments and collaborative efforts towards a more sustainable, peaceful, and prosperous future for all nations. As we move forward, the lessons learned from these events serve as a reminder of the importance of collective action and cooperation to address shared global challenges.