Knesset Candidates Might Be Vetted for Ethics Before Elections

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Oren Hazan at a party from time before he was a politician.
Oren Hazan at a party from time before he was a politician. Credit: Ofer Vaknin

A proposed law would require Knesset candidates to reveal information on prior criminal convictions, investigations and other controversial behavior.

The bill is the product of the affair surrounding new MK Oren Hazan (Likud), as well as cases of MKs who lied about their number of academic degrees.

In June, deputy speaker Hazan was barred from chairing a Knesset meeting after Channel 2 television said he had lied about running a casino in Bulgaria and had used hard drugs and solicited prostitutes for friends before entering politics.

The new law would require each party to establish a five-person committee to query candidates. The panel would also require a declaration of both assets and professional and academic degrees.

Knesset candidates would be able to refuse to present documents or answer questions, but this would be made public.

The bill was sponsored by MK Eyal Ben-Reuven (Zionist Union), in cooperation with the Israel Democracy Institute and Prof. Asa Kasher of Tel Aviv University. Kasher is the author of the military's ethics code.

“The people should know their representatives, with an emphasis on their ethical and moral behavior," Ben-Reuven said.

Kasher noted that during election campaigns, the public’s attention was on party leaders who might serve in the cabinet. But all candidates with a decent chance of making it into the Knesset must be vetted beforehand, he said.

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