Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday will undergo a colonoscopy, during which one of his top coalition partners will fill in as premier, according to his office.
A statement Thursday from the Prime Minister’s Office said Netanyahu, 73, will be partially sedated during the gastrointestinal examination, which it described as routine.
Interior and Health Minister Aryeh Deri will serve in Netanyahu’s stead during the examination, the statement said, citing the coalition deal inked between Netanyahu’s Likud party and Deri’s ultra-Orthodox Shas designating the latter as deputy prime minister.
- The position is an honorary one, without legal meaning, and does not signify a formal role in a prime ministerial succession.
Shas is the second largest party in Netanyahu’s government, which he formed last week after his right-religious bloc won a majority of Knesset seats in the November 1 election. The ruling coalition also includes the Haredi United Torah Judaism party and three far-right factions.
Deri — whose legitimacy to serve in the cabinet is currently being challenged at the High Court, due to his conviction and suspended sentence for tax offenses last year — will join a list of ministers who briefly served in place of Netanyahu while he underwent medical procedures and examinations over the years.
Under Israeli law, Netanyahu can select an acting prime minister of his choice when traveling overseas or is otherwise temporarily unable to perform his duties.
- Netanyahu, Israel’s longest-serving leader, has not formally designated an acting prime minister since his second stint as premier began in 2009, and similarly refrained from doing so upon returning to office last week, setting up the potential for political chaos if he were to suddenly vacate his seat or be incapacitated.