Israeli PM Netanyahu to undergo surgery under general anesthesia

Justice Minister Yariv Levin will step in while the Israeli Prime Minister is incapacitated

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said he hopes to “return to action very quickly” after he was diagnosed with a hernia which required a medical procedure under general anesthesia on Sunday.

The Israeli PM’s office said a hernia was found during a “routine checkup” on Saturday, confirming that the 74-year-old leader will be briefly incapacitated during a surgery scheduled to take place on Sunday night. Netanyahu’s deputy and close ally, Yariv Levin, who also holds the title of the country’s Justice Minister, will briefly fill his role in the meantime.

Netahyahu held a press conference ahead of the procedure, indicating that his condition was not serious. “I assure you that I will get through this treatment successfully and return to action very quickly,” the Israeli PM told reporters.

A hernia is an opening or weakness in the muscle wall, which allows internal tissue or organ, usually abdominal, to protrude outward. Netanyahu’s doctors however did not say where exactly the hernia had been discovered.

Israel’s longest-serving leader, now into his sixth term, underwent a heart surgery last July, during which he was fitted with a pacemaker. Back then Levin also served as acting prime minister while Netanyahu was incapacitated.

The latest health concern comes at a time when Israel is waging a war against Hamas in Gaza. In response to the deadly raid last October, in which some 1,200 people were killed and dozens taken hostage, Netanyahu vowed to eliminate the Palestinian militant group. The Israeli campaign inflicted heavy damage on the Palestinian enclave, leaving at least 32,000 people dead, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

On Sunday, Netanyahu once again reiterated his resolve to achieve a “victory”, revealing that he had already approved an “operational plan” for the renewed push into the southern Gaza city of Rafah.