Controversial Likud MK Oren Hazan was indicted Thursday on charges of assaulting the mayor of Ariel in 2014.
According to reports in the Hebrew media, state prosecutors filed charges against Hazan in the Petah Tikva Magistrate’s Court. Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, approved the move, accepting the recommendation of the state prosecutor after rejected Hazan’s defense claims.
Normally a Knesset member requires the removal of his or her parliamentary immunity in order to stand trial. However, Knesset ethics rules specify that immunity is not automatically granted for allegations stemming from before the individual was a member of the Knesset, or if the allegations have no connection to his or her work as a parliamentarian. In this case, Hazan can ask the Knesset for a special grant of immunity in order to avoid prosecution, but must show that his prosecution would cause “public damage.”
According to the indictment, Hazan accosted the director general of the Ariel Municipality, Avi Azar, after being angered by a lien placed on his mother Aviva’s restaurant in the town after she had failed to pay municipal taxes for eight years.
According to the indictment Hazan approached Azar and Ariel Mayor Eli Shaviro in the corridors of the municipality and demanded they immediately resolve the case.
When Azar told Hazan “not now,” he cursed the director general, calling him a “son of a bitch” and told him he would get him “thrown out.” Azar ignored Hazan and continued walking in the direction of the municipality’s conference room where he was scheduled to hold a meeting, but Hazan stood in his way and pushed him forcefully. Azar continued to ignore Hazan who followed him into the conference room, slammed the door shut and shouted “nobody is leaving this room.” Hazan was escorted out of the conference room, but from there burst into Mayor Shaviro’s office, shouting at him that he would “take care” of him and that he would make sure Shaviro loses his job.
The incident is just the latest in a string of scandals that have come to light since Hazan became an MK.
A 2015 Channel 2 TV report claimed Hazan hired prostitutes, procured drugs for customers and smoked crystal meth while running a casino in Bulgaria. Hazan sued Channel 2 and reporter Amit Segal for libel following the report, but the court however said that the report that Hazan had hired prostitutes and taken drugs was defensible. It did, however, award Hazan NIS 40,000 in damages for the claim he had procured drugs for clientele, saying the charge was defamatory.
In December 2016, Mandelblit decided not to open a criminal investigation against Hazan over charges that he had sexually assaulted female employees while running a bar in Tel Aviv.
Hazan has also been involved in various scandals in the Knesset, including being suspended from the Knesset for a month by the parliamentary ethics committee in December 2015 for ridiculing disabled Yesh Atid MK Karin Elharar.
Report: Trump to Visit Israel in May
US President Donald J. Trump has scheduled a visit to Israel next month, according to a report by Israel’s Channel Two.
The visit would be Trump’s first to the Holy Land and the first presidential visit since President Barack Obama visited in March, 2013. It would also be a change to a relatively recent presidential trend–Presidents Obama and George W. Bush both visited Israel during their second terms in office, whereas Trump will have been in office for less than six months.
Trump will be the sixth sitting US president to visit Israel. Presidents Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter each held talks in Jerusalem during the 1970s, while President Bill Clinton came a record four times, and Obama visited twice, including for the funeral of the late President Shimon Peres.