Sunday, November 29, 2009

PM Netanyahu cancels trip to Berlin over "viral infection" .

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his cabinet on Sunday were forced to cancel their planned visit to Germany, after the premier fell ill and was advised by his physician not travel.

The prime minister was diagnosed with a viral infection and a light fever late Sunday evening, after returning from the Eilat Journalist Conference. His doctor recommended he stay home however, to recuperate from the virus.

He and his ministers were supposed to travel to Berlin for a joint cabinet session with their German counterparts, a symbol highlighting the two nations' bond six decades after the Holocaust. The session has been postponed until a later date.

An official at the PM's Office reported that Netanyahu had begun feeling unwell in the morning hours, but took part in a Likud minister's meeting and in the weekly cabinet meeting. In the afternoon, the prime minister delivered an address at the Eilat Journalism Conference despite his condition.

While flying back from the southern city the prime minister complained of pains, and he was examined by his personal doctor upon landing. The doctor recommended that Netanyahu remain in Israel in order to recover from the illness.

The prime minister's advisor, Uzi Arad, telephoned senior officials in the German chancellor's office after it was decided that the prime minister and his entourage would not be able to arrive in Berlin as planned. The German officials consulted Merkel and decided not to hold the meeting between the two governments without the prime minister.

Aides to the prime minister said he was not suffering from any serious medical condition, just a virus that requires rest and abstention from extraneous activities.