Likud Expels MK Oren Hazan From Knesset Committees

Hazan's place at Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and Knesset Committee will be taken by MK Amir Ohana.

Olivier Fitoussi

The Likud faction has permanently suspended MK Oren Hazan from all the Knesset committees on Tuesday.

MK Amir Ohana will be replacing Hazan at the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and the Knesset Committee. 

Coalition Chairman MK Tzahi Hanegbi made the decision, after consulting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, after Hazan's no-show at a plenum vote led to a coalition-backed bill to be rejected.

"For some time now, MK Oren Hazan has been purposefully avoiding many votes in the Knesset plenum," Hanegbi wrote in a letter sent to the Likud faction members. "This has constituted consistent defiance against his own faction, has been hampering the government and making it harder for us to promote the goals the coalition is committed to."

The bill which failed to pass due to Hazan's absence was written by Likud MK Anat Berko, and sought to allow rulings made by IDF courts in the West Bank to be used as evidence in civilian courts in Israel. 

Hazan has been the subject of repeated controversy since he first became a lawmaker following the last elections. Last June, Channel 2 aired a report claiming that Hazan used drugs and coordinated escort services for clients at the casino he managed in Bulgaria before entering politics. The Knesset Ethics Committee said that it would not probe the complaints against the MK because they occurred before he was elected.

Last December, Hazan was temporarily suspended by the Knesset Ethics Committee after mocking a disabled Knesset colleague, Yesh Atid's Karin Elharar, in the plenum. Hazan was barred from attending the plenum or the Knesset committees for one month. 

Hazan denounced his suspension as a "fictitious" move. Hazan said on Army Radio that "yesterday during the vote on Anat Berko's important bill, I was busy dealing with personal health matters. At the same time only 29 coalition lawmakers were in attendance for the vote. I regret that instead of dealing with the failures of coalition whip Tzahi Hanegbi, he tries to divert all the attention to me."

"This is fictitious, I didn't reach the Knesset in order to enjoy power, I cannot be bought by a job," Hazan said.

Lawmaker Ohana welcomed the decision to name him as Hazan's replacement, saying: "I am glad and thankful for the expression of support I've been given in being named as a member of two such important committees. I intend to fulfill my job with utmost loyalty to my voters, and the citizens of Israel, and in accordance with my experience in security and legal affairs."