An Israeli rapper known for his far-right views and his online entourage of rowdy trolls signed up as a member of the Likud party Tuesday under the auspices of the controversial Knesset member Oren Hazan.
Yoav Eliasi, who goes by the stage name Hatzel — Hebrew for The Shadow — filled in the necessary paperwork with the Likud party’s Hazan, who exclaimed that due to the rapper’s social media following, his membership would bring the party an electoral boost equivalent to five extra seats.
“Today we are bringing a tremendous force to Likud,” Hazan said, according to a report in the daily Yedioth Ahronoth. “We haven’t known each other for very long, but I feel that Yoav is like a brother to me, and so I call him Yoav and not The Shadow.”
Hazan said the two “have a lot in common” and are both “fed up with the political correctness that has taken over” the Knesset.
— ידיעות אחרונות (@YediotAhronot) August 3, 2016
The 38-year-old Eliasi, who has over 220,000 Facebook fans, has gained notoriety for his hard-line, inflammatory posts — and the even more inflammatory comments on his posts — that often single out Arabs and left-wing figures.
The musician has in the past called for paramedics to harvest the organs of Palestinians killed during attacks on Israelis so that they can be used to save Jews. He has also proposed that dead attackers be castrated to frustrate their belief in a reward of 72 virgins in heaven.
“The public is fed up with the fawning, cowardly leftist dialogue. Not for nothing does Yoav have a quarter of a million followers on social media networks,” Hazan said. “We are both free of political correctness.
“I’m not afraid to think of him as someone who is worth perhaps even five seats,” he continued. “There are a lot of MKs whom I would replace with Yoav right away.”
Elias reportedly responded to Hazan’s comments by declaring that he wanted to “throw dollars at every word” of Hazan’s Knesset speeches, and promising to draft his followers, known as “The Shadow’s Lions,” to form a “Likud Guard.”
The rapper, who rose to fame in the 1990s as part of a double act before sinking into bankruptcy by 2011, hinted that he might try and seek a place on the parliamentary list of the party, which is led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“At the moment I’m not in that place, but you never know what will happen in the future,” he said.
“Likud is moving to the left all the time,” he said, “sometimes I want to vomit on some of the people [in the party]. The time has come for change in Likud.”
Hazan, a freshman MK, has had a rocky term in the Knesset since gaining his seat in 2015.
Last June, Channel 2 reported Hazan had hired prostitutes for his friends and used hard drugs while managing a casino in Bulgaria before he was elected to Knesset. Hazan denied the allegations and sued Channel 2 for libel.
In December 2015, the Knesset Ethics Committee suspended Hazan from participating in parliamentary debates for a month due to a series of complaints against him, and he was removed from his role of deputy speaker.
On Tuesday Channel 2 reported that Hazan was booted by Netanyahu from the Knesset’s State Control Committee after he threatened to vote in favor of an official state inquiry into the 2014 Gaza war.
According to the report, Hazan had threatened to side with the opposition and support a probe into the 50-day conflict, which is known in Israel as Operation Protective Edge. Netanyahu decided to replace Hazan on the panel to ensure a majority ahead of the expected committee vote on an inquiry when the Knesset reconvenes in the fall.
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.