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Israeli Police May Indict Likud Knesset Member Oren Hazan for Assault

Embattled lawmaker had previously been accused of pimping and abusing drugs

Jas Chana
September 02, 2015
Thomas Coex/AFP
The Israeli parliament on March 30, 2015. Thomas Coex/AFP
Thomas Coex/AFP
The Israeli parliament on March 30, 2015. Thomas Coex/AFP

MK Oren Hazan of the Likud party is in hot water once again. A few months ago, Israel’s Channel 2 ran an investigative report which accused Hazan of pimping and abusing hard drugs when he worked as a manager of a Hungarian casino, prior to his entry into politics. Now Israeli police say they have enough evidence to indict the Likud MK for “assaulting a public servant and behaving inappropriately in a public place,” Haaretz reported.

The assault in question allegedly happened last year in October when Hazan had an argument with Avi Ezer, a city manager in the West Bank settlement of Ariel.

According to Haaretz, the argument broke out “after Hazan was slapped with a lien due to an unpaid debt to the municipality.” The Times of Israel reported that both sides in the heated confrontation filed complaints against one another but

after Hazan became a member of Knesset following the March 2015 elections, the case was moved from the Samaria police department to the Lahav 433 National Crime Unit, and police required approval by Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein to continue with the investigation.

Yesterday, Hazan took to his Facebook page to assert his certainty that Weinstein would close the case. “I have no doubt the attorney general will make a sensible decision rather than a populist one, and won’t be influenced by the media brouhaha and the witch hunt that has been waged against me for months now,” the Facebook page reads. “This case, in which I was the first to complain, is built on a foundation of lies and political rivalry.”

Others are not buying Hazan’s defense, however. The Times of Israel reported that Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon refused to attend a “Likud party pre-holiday gathering” after he received the news that the “scandal ridden” Hazan would be in attendance. Ya’alon described Hazan as “degrading the Likud party and its values.”

“I have received numerous complaints from Likud members who cannot tolerate this situation. It’s time to say out loud what most people are thinking,” Israel’s Channel 2 reported Ya’alon as saying.

Hazan fired back at Ya’alon during a Knesset plenum debate over the 2015-2016 budget, accusing the defense minister of ineffectually dealing with the recent increase in terror attacks on Israeli citizens.

“Every day Ya’alon concerns himself with maintaining his position and his own personal survival instead of dealing with the security situation, all while abandoning Israeli citizens,” Hazan said.

Jas Chana is a former intern at Tablet.