Freshman Likud MK defends gambling hall past

Freshman Likud MK defends gambling hall past

Incoming lawmaker Oren Hazan rebuffs ‘media abuse’ over former job as manager of hotel-casino in Bulgaria

Freshman Likud MK Oren Hazan (screen capture: Ynet video)
Freshman Likud MK Oren Hazan (screen capture: Ynet video)

A newly elected Knesset member for the Likud party has caused a stir over his previous occupation: manager of a casino on the Bulgarian Riviera.

Oren Hazan, 33, who took the 30th and final slot on the largest party’s list, worked as a manager of a hotel-casino in the resort town of Burgas until 2013, Channel 2 reported Sunday.

After joining the Likud party, he stood out for supporting the segregation of Israeli settlers and Palestinians on West Bank buses, and butting heads with a left-wing activist at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya during the election campaign.

On Monday, Hazan rebuffed criticism of his occupation, 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, son of former Likud MK Yehiel Hazan, wrote on Facebook.

According to Channel 2, Hazan said that the casino in the resort town of Burgas was completely legal and regulated by Bulgarian authorities. He told the station that his role was managing the hotel, which runs a casino inside.

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.

The soon-to-be sworn in freshman MK dismissed media criticism, saying in a Facebook post, “I won’t let a few journalists tarnish my past and my labors — to harm (once again) my family.”

“We’re already immune to you,” he said.

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