Benjamin Netanyahu: Israeli PM undergoes heart surgery ahead of judicial overhaul vote

Israel's prime minister has said the surgery will not delay a vote on his controversial judicial overhaul plan, as ITV News' Bairbre Holmes reports

Benjamin Netanyahu is recovering in hospital after undergoing emergency heart surgery to have a pacemaker fitted.

The Israeli prime minister's doctors said the procedure went smoothly and that the 73-year-old was feeling fine.

Mr Netanyahu, who is facing a number of corruption charges, is expected to be discharged from hospital later on Sunday.

Israel's Justice Minister, Yariv Levin, stood in for Mr Netanyahu while he was sedated.

In a brief video statement before the procedure, Mr Netanyahu said he felt "excellent" and planned to push forward with a controversial judicial overhaul plan as soon as he was released.

Mr Netanyahu was rushed to hospital in the middle of Saturday night, a week after being hospitalised for dehydration.

He was released after doctors implanted a device to monitor his heart, but returned to hospital days later after it showed anomalies, prompting the need for a pacemaker.

Hundreds of thousands of Israelis have protested against Mr Netanyahu's judicial overhaul. Credit: AP

Despite his health concerns, Mr Netanyahu said it will not delay a vote on Monday, which could see his judicial overhaul passed into law.

Hundreds of thousands of people have protested in opposition to the policies, which have been criticised as setting Israel on a path to dictatorship.

The legislation, which was announced in January, would limit the Israeli Supreme Court's oversight powers by preventing judges from striking down government decisions on the basis that they are "unreasonable".

Mr Netanyahu and his supporters have said the overhaul is needed to curb what they say are the excessive powers of unelected judges.

But opponents argue removing the current "reasonability" standard, which is invoked infrequently, would allow the government to pass arbitrary decisions, make improper appointments or sackings and open the door to corruption.

Other measures in the overhaul include sweeping changes aimed at curbing the powers of the judiciary, from limiting the Supreme Court's ability to challenge parliamentary decisions, to changing the way judges are selected.

Thousands of protestors have camped outside Israel's parliament - the Knesset - in Jerusalem, ahead of the vote.

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