Israeli Provocateur Lawmaker to Be Indicted for Assaulting a Public Official

Likud Knesset member Oren Hazan allegedly verbally and physically assaulted officials of settlement Ariel in 2014

Knesset member Oren Hazan taking selfies at a rally in support of Netanyahu in the face of corruption probes on August 8, 2017.
Ilan Assayag

Knesset member Oren Hazan of the Likud party will face charges for assaulting and insulting a public servant and inappropriate conduct in public.

Before announcing the charges, Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit gave Hazan, a known provocateur, a hearing, but rejected his arguments. The Knesset speaker and chairman of the House Committee were notified of Mendelblit's decision so they can start the process of removing Hazan's immunity.

The charge reportedly originated from an incident that occurred in 2014, before Hazan was elected to the Knesset. The bank account of Hazan's mother, Aviva Hazan, was sequestered over unpaid municipal taxes owed by the family restaurant.

While delivering documents to the director-general of the Ariel municipality, Hazan allegedly began to shout at him over the seizure of the account, yelling, "Your mother's ****, theiving son of a bitch, I'll throw you out of here!"

The draft indictment states that the director-general ignored Hazan, who then pushed his body against the public official's. As the director-general climbed some stairs to a conference room, says the draft, Hazan pushed him forcefully again, throwing the director-general against the banister.

Hazan then allegedly followed the official into the conference room, closed the door and said, "Nobody leaves here." He then continued to curse the director-general until he left and barged into the office of Ariel mayor Eli Shaviro, who asked him to leave. Hazan refused, replying that he would "take care" of the mayor – that is, threatening to get him fired.

Under the law, Hazan has a 30-day window to ask the Knesset to invoke his immunity in the case.

The lawmaker most recently made headlines when he accepted a Jordanian legislator's challenge to a duel at the Jordan-Israel Allenby bridge border crossing. Hazan was forced to call off the "nonviolent" face-off after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered him to stand down. Hazan also famously took a selfie with U.S. President Donald Trump as he walked off the tarmac on his recent visit to Israel.

Hazan's lawyers, Zion Amar and Ephraim Dimri, said they were "saddened and shocked" even "astonished" at the attorney general's decision to put their client on trial over an argument between two politicians that happened years ago, well before Hazan had been in the Knesset. They had thought, they wrote, that a case "about to be shelved" would not reemerge as problematic for the Knesset member.

The two claim that only after Hazan's election to the Knesset was the case was resuscitated, and that the whole case boils down to two politicians exchanging accusations. Now that it is about to reach the courts, they will see it through and are confident in Hazan's case, they said.