Likud MK lies to lefty NGO in attempt to discredit it
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Likud MK lies to lefty NGO in attempt to discredit it

Posing as IDF reservist, Oren Hazan gives false testimony to Breaking The Silence group on rights abuses by IDF in Gaza

Adiv Sterman is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

MK Oren Hazan of the Likud in the Knesset plenum on March 29, 2015 (photo credit: Miriam Alster/FLASH90)
MK Oren Hazan of the Likud in the Knesset plenum on March 29, 2015 (photo credit: Miriam Alster/FLASH90)

Freshman Likud party MK Oren Hazan was accused Wednesday of attempting to embarrass an Israeli left-wing NGO by providing it with false testimony detailing fictitious human rights abuses committed by IDF soldiers in the Gaza Strip.

Hazan apparently acted in hope that the fake attestation would be published and thus cast serious doubt on the organization’s credibility.

According to Breaking The Silence, an organization dedicated to collecting testimonies from current and former IDF soldiers about their military service in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, a routine fact-checking procedure revealed numerous inconsistencies in an account submitted several months ago by a man calling himself Asaf Hazan, who claimed to be a reservist who fought during last summer’s 50-day war between Israel and Hamas.

Given the problematic nature of the testimony, the NGO decided not to publish it.

An investigation by Channel 10 published Tuesday revealed that the fabricated account had been given not by Asaf Hazan, but rather by Oren Hazan, who was elected to Knesset last month on the Likud party’s 30th slot. Hazan later admitted he had provided false testimony to Breaking the Silence, but insisted that his made-up description had in fact been published.

“After the exposure of the affair, MK Hazan continues with his lies and says that we published the testimony, but lo and behold he cannot prove it… this is because we never released it,” a statement on Breaking The Silence’s Hebrew Facebook page read.

“The many attempts by public bodies and individuals to discredit us and the soldiers of the IDF who testified before us will always fail, due to the fact that in our system, as part of the organization’s professional work, all accounts are carefully and rigorously examined in order to ensure reliability.”

Hazan, 33, has already caused a stir over his previous occupation as manager of a casino on the Bulgarian Riviera. After being elected to Knesset, Hazan rebuffed criticism of his former job, saying it was entirely aboveboard, and claimed he was the victim of unjust media prejudice. “I’m the second generation of media abuse, only because I’m not a member of the [media] establishment,” Hazan, who is the son of disgraced Likud MK Yehiel Hazan, wrote on Facebook.

Yehiel Hazan was convicted of forgery, fraud and breach of trust after double-voting in the Knesset in 2003 and attempting to cover up the evidence. He was sentenced to four months of community service and a six-month suspended prison term.

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