Israeli PM’s wife hospitalized ahead of Netanyahu UAE trip


JERUSALEM — Sara Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister’s wife, was hospitalized Thursday with an appendix infection at Jerusalem’s Hadassah Medical Center, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was due to fly to the United Arab Emirates on Thursday, a historic trip meant to cement new diplomatic ties between the Mideast nations and boost the embattled Israeli leader’s re-election hopes. But his wife’s hospitalization casts doubt on whether the trip will take place.

Netanyahu is locked in a tight race against a field of challengers in Israel’s fourth election in two years, and is sure to use the trip — 12 days before Israelis go to the polls — to his own political advantage.

The UAE became the third Arab nation after Egypt and Jordan to establish formal diplomatic ties to Israel in August.

Netanyahu has cast himself as a seasoned statesman uniquely qualified to lead the nation through turbulent times. Thursday’s visit, which has been delayed several times due to coronavirus restrictions, could help him divert attention from his upcoming corruption trial and anger over the economic fallout from the coronavirus crisis.

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