Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz is due to be released from Hadassah University Hospital at Ein Karem in Jerusalem today after undergoing a battery of tests.
Steinitz was taken to the hospital late Tuesday after he reported feeling ill in his home. After concluding a thorough medical examination, doctors at Hadassah kept the finance minister under observation for a period of 24 hours.
Steinitz complained of feeling ill Tuesday after he concluded another round of night-time discussions with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his advisers regarding the package of incentives the government would propose to offset rising prices and higher taxes.
The finance minister is expected to participate in the final round of talks today between the treasury and the Histadrut labor federation. Steinitz is then likely to appear alongside Netanyahu at his press conference, during which the premier is likely to unveil the government's proposals.
Netanyahu and Steinitz met privately during the premier's visit with Steinitz at the hospital. The two men discussed the benefits package and the press conference, which was originally scheduled for yesterday but was pushed back to today because of Steinitz's health.
Steinitz's aides believe their boss fell victim to exhaustion and stress, particularly because of the increasingly heavy workload that he has taken on recently.
"I was suffering from the flu," the finance minister said. "I hadn't eaten or drank anything all day. I don't recommend that anyone else do this. I didn't sleep, but now I feel fine."
The chairman of the Knesset Finance Committee, MK Moshe Gafni (UTJ ), told Netanyahu yesterday morning that it would be inconceivable for the premier to stage a news conference in the absence of Steinitz.
"The finance minister was a target of personal attacks and slanders during this entire recent period of price hikes," Gafni told Netanyahu. "He was viewed as directly responsible for the situation, so it would only be appropriate to wait for him to be released from the hospital before the government announces its benefits."
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