Likud Fears Hazan Suspension Could Wipe Out Coalition's Majority

The suspended lawmaker is allowed to participate in plenum votes, but the coalition, which as a single vote majority, fears that he won't be around to cast his vote.

Ofer Vaknin

The suspension of Likud Knesset member Oren Hazan from Knesset activities for the next month could threaten the functioning of the coalition, which has a one-seat majority in the Knesset, according to Likud sources.

Hazan was suspended by the Knesset Ethics Committee on Wednesday for mocking a disabled Knesset colleague in the plenum. He will not be allowed to participate in plenary and committee sessions, though he will be able to vote.

However, there is concern in the Likud that he will "disappear" while suspended and will not be present in the Knesset to vote.

Opposition whip MK Meirav Michaeli (Zionist Union) confirmed on Wednesday that her party would refuse to offset Hazan by allowing an opposition MK to sit out votes.

"None of the opposition parties will offset Hazan," Michaeli said. "The members of the prime minister's party are going to have to take responsibility."

"In the current reality, in which our majority is fragile and dependent on Hazan's vote, his suspension could affect the functioning of the entire coalition," a Likud source said.

"We can't expect him to sit for hours outside the plenum waiting for when he needs to vote. His frustration could also cause him to miss critical votes."

Knesset Speaker Yuri Edelstein yesterday welcomed the decision to suspend Hazan, saying that "it's a lesson for everyone in the Knesset."

"It's preferable to serve the voters who sent us and avoid insulting the honor of the Knesset and its members," he said.