Court Rules Likud Lawmaker, in Former Role as Restauranteur, Denied Rights of Palestinian Workers

Restaurant to pay $77,000 to employees of settlement eatery, who sued after being denied social rights and fair pay by MK Oren Hazan.

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

A restaurant run by Likud MK Oren Hazan has been ordered to pay 300,000 shekels ($77,000) to three Palestinian employees.

The employees, Ayman Othman, Fawaz Kanaan and Jihad Kanaan, sued the restaurant for failing to give them severance pay and other benefits. The restaurant, located in the West Bank settlement of Ariel, is run by O.H.M. Tikshoret V’Yazamut.

In their suit, filed in the Jerusalem Labor Court, the employees said they resigned because they had never received legally mandated benefits, including vacation days, holiday payments, travel allowances and pension payments. One, Jihad Kanaan, also said he wasn’t paid the minimum wage.

The company claimed that the workers resigned because Hazan demanded that they repay loans he made them, and because tensions had developed after one worker found a girlfriend in Ariel and began staying there overnight, in defiance of defense establishment regulations. It also argued that the workers weren’t entitled to benefits, and that Jihad Kanaan earned less than the monthly minimum because he only worked part-time.

But the court sided with the workers, agreeing both that they were denied their due benefits and that Jihad Kanaan wasn’t paid minimum wage. It noted that the company submitted no salary slips or other evidence to prove that it paid the requisite benefits.

Hazan accused the Palestinian Authority of being behind the suit. He noted that he himself wasn’t named as a defendant in it, but nevertheless insisted its purpose was “to harm an Israeli Knesset member who is also a resident of Ariel and whose rightist views are well known.”