Is Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu sick, and if so, who is his designated successor? Those are the questions Israelis are asking now that the news has broken that he twice snuck into to the hospital for tests of some sort while in disguise.
Israel’s Channel 2 News reported that one time the PM was smuggled in to the hospital for a prostate exam by security guards disguised as pest exterminators. The other time they dressed as delivery men and they brought Netanyahu into the hospital for the test in a pita delivery truck.
The Prime Minister is reportedly fine, but he underwent anesthesia both times and was rendered unconscious for the duration of the tests. Unfortunately, unlike in the United States, Israel has no formal line of succession. When the U.S. President undergoes a medical procedure he simply signs a letter designating his Vice-President in charge while he is in the hospital and just in case something goes wrong.
The late Prime Minister Ariel Sharon did formally appoint Ehud Olmert as his designated successor in case he was unable tyo perform his duties. So when Sharon was left in a coma after a brain aneurysm Mr. Olmert was able to become the acting Prime Minister and later formal prime minister.
But Netanyahu has made no such arrangements for his designated number two, Deputy Prime Minister Silvan Shalom.
This point has not been lost on Israel’s opposition parties. The faction head of the Zionist Union — the largest opposition party in the Knesset — Merav Michaeli said, “We cannot rely on the prime minister to appoint a replacement, so he must be obligated to appoint one by law, . Thank God, Ariel Sharon appointed one or we would have been in trouble.”
She submitted a bill to the Knesset which would require the Prime Minister to designate a formal number two who woul succeed him.
But the real question is, why did Netanyahu feel the need to sneak into the hospital in disguise? Was it because of security concerns or because he did not want anyone to know about the tests?
Either way, Benjamin Netanyahu seems silly for being smuggled into the hospital in these ways for what his office is now calling only routine tests.