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Netanyahu Undergoes Hernia Surgery Amid Mounting Pressure on His Government

WorldMiddle EastNetanyahu Undergoes Hernia Surgery Amid Mounting Pressure on His Government


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel underwent surgery on Sunday night to treat a hernia, his office said in a statement.

Mr. Netanyahu’s office said early Monday that the surgery was successful, and that the prime minister was recovering and talking with his family.

The operation came as Mr. Netanyahu is under mounting international pressure to negotiate a cease-fire and end the war in Gaza.

Mr. Netanyahu’s office said on Sunday that he had been diagnosed with a hernia during a “routine examination” the previous night. The prime minister decided in consultation with his doctors to have the operation, his office said in a statement, adding that the procedure would take place on Sunday evening “under full anesthesia.”

“Justice Minister Yariv Levin will be temporarily taking over his duties,” the statement said. Mr. Levin is a longtime stalwart in the prime minister’s Likud party.

Mr. Netanyahu — who also underwent surgery for a hernia in 2013 — has come under increasing criticism both on the world stage and at home over how Israel is prosecuting the war in the Gaza Strip. Key allies like the United States have criticized the high civilian death toll and have made urgent calls for Israel to allow more aid into the enclave.

In Israel, protesters have been demanding that Mr. Netanyahu prioritize the release of hostages held in Gaza and strike a deal for a cease-fire.

Mr. Netanyahu was also facing sharp criticism from his far-right coalition partners over any indication that he was hesitating in the war against Hamas or in the expansion of Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Hours before his scheduled surgical procedure, Mr. Netanyahu met in Jerusalem with families of soldiers held captive in Gaza.

He also delivered an evening news conference, looking pale as he hit back at criticism that he had not done enough to bring the hostages home.

“I’ve done everything in my power, and will continue doing everything, to secure their release,” he said, adding that “those who say I don’t do enough to secure the release of our hostages are wrong and misleading.”

Taking questions for nearly 20 minutes, Mr. Netanyahu also reiterated that Israeli forces would move into Rafah, the southern Gaza city where more than a million people have sought refuge. American officials have said that invading Rafah would create a humanitarian disaster and that Israel must have a detailed plan to protect, shelter and feed the civilians there.

“We are now working on addressing the question of evacuating the civilian population and providing humanitarian aid,” Mr. Netanyahu said. “That is required and vital, and it will be done.”



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