Likud MK calls Ethiopian lawmaker a ‘token immigrant’

Likud MK calls Ethiopian lawmaker a ‘token immigrant’

‘I’m a proud Israeli, you bastard,’ Yesh Atid’s Pnina Tamano-Shata fires back at scandal-prone Oren Hazan

Blue and White MK Pnina Tamano-Shata attends a Knesset committee meeting on July 12, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Blue and White MK Pnina Tamano-Shata attends a Knesset committee meeting on July 12, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

A Likud lawmaker known for controversy called an opposition member of Ethiopian descent a “token immigrant” during a Knesset committee meeting on Wednesday.

Oren Hazan made the comment to Yesh Atid MK Pnina Tamano-Shata during a House Committee hearing on a bill to dissolve the Knesset and head to early elections, ahead of its final readings.

“I’m a proud black woman. Look at me. I’m a proud Israeli, you bastard. This country is no less mine than yours,” Tamano-Shata fired back at Hazan.

“You need to be put in your place. You debase Israeli society. If I’m a ‘token immigrant,’ I call on Ethiopian immigrants not to vote for Likud,” she added.

Likud MK Oren Hazan at a Knesset committee meeting on November 6, 2018. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

After being called to order by committee chairman Miki Zohar (Likud), Hazan yelled that Tamano-Shata was “screaming like crazy” and made shushing gestures at her.

Tamano-Shata was eventually removed by Knesset ushers from the meeting.

“An idiot of the lowest level who shames the Knesset,” she later wrote of Hazan on Twitter.

Tamano-Shata, who first entered the Knesset in 2013, was born in Ethiopia and moved to Israel with her family when she was three.

Since his election to the Knesset in 2015, Hazan has publicly mocked a disabled colleague and has been temporarily banned from the Knesset twice over various wrongdoings. In January, the Knesset Ethics Committee handed Hazan a six-month ban on parliamentary activities, the maximum possible punishment — unprecedented in all the years of the Knesset — for a series of incidents in which he insulted fellow lawmakers.

In November 2015, during a late-night vote, Hazan shouted at wheelchair-bound Yesh Atid MK Karin Elharar, “Need Issawi to help you?” Elharar suffers from muscular dystrophy.

Hazan had accused her of illegal double-voting after she asked Meretz MK Issawi Frej to help her cast her vote in the plenum.

Recently, he told a female lawmaker in a Knesset committee meeting that she was too ugly to be a prostitute and last month called another wheelchair-bound MK “half a human.”

Hazan’s father Yehiel Hazan lost his Knesset seat after a 2003 incident in which he was caught casting a double-vote in the plenum, and then attempting to remove a voting computer from a Knesset storage room to hide evidence of the act.

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