Likud MK Oren Hazan lightly injured in car crash

Likud MK Oren Hazan lightly injured in car crash

Accident comes less than a year after the bad-boy lawmaker’s license was suspended for speeding

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Likud MK Oren Hazan attends a committee meeting at the Knesset on July 26, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Likud MK Oren Hazan attends a committee meeting at the Knesset on July 26, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Likud MK Oren Hazan was lightly injured in a car crash along a highway southeast of Tel Aviv on Thursday, medics said.

The accident came less than a year after Hazan got his license back after a court suspended it, after he was caught driving well over the speed limit.

A police spokesperson said officers were investigating the crash, but stressed that this is “standard police procedure.”

In Thursday’s accident, Hazan’s car was hit from the rear while he was driving south on the Route 6 highway, near the Ben Shemen Interchange, in central Israel.

He was lightly wounded, with injuries to the back and leg, according to the Magen David Adom ambulance service.

He was fully conscious and taken to the Sheba Medical Center, in Ramat Gan.

No other injuries were reported.

In November, the Beersheba District Court ruled to suspend conditionally his driver’s license for three months, compounding a NIS 1,500 ($416) fine he had already received for driving 142 kilometers per hour (88 mph) — 52 kilometers per hour (32 mph) over the speed limit — in southern Israel in December 2016.

This three-month conditional suspension would come into effect if he is found guilty of further breaches in the two years following the ruling.

The police spokesperson said it was too soon to see if this would be applicable in this case.

During the trial, state prosecutors noted that Hazan had a history of driving offenses.

They detailed 18 previous convictions brought against Hazan. Those include five charges of speeding, four for driving without a seat belt, two for parking illegally, two separate convictions for double parking, two charges for failing to produce a license and registration, one for using a mobile phone while driving, one for not allowing pedestrians to cross at a cross walk, and one for driving off-road.

Responding to the decision at the time, Hazan claimed victory over the fact that the court did not accept the prosecution’s demand of a further immediate ban.

“The court criticized the prosecution and rejected its appeal,” he said, claiming the case was brought against him as part of a “witch hunt” seeking to bring him down.

“They have failed. We won again,” he declared.

Hazan, who entered the Knesset in the 2015 election, has become known as the enfant terrible of Israel’s parliament.

Shortly after he went into politics, a Channel 2 News expose alleged that Hazan had previously run a casino in Bulgaria where hard drugs and prostitution were allowed. He sued the station’s journalist Amit Segal for libel but the court rejected the bulk of the lawsuit.

In December, he was charged with assaulting a senior official in the municipality of the West Bank town of Ariel in 2014 in an apparent dispute over a debt. After the city froze his bank account, Hazan went to the municipal office, where he allegedly cursed and pushed the municipal director.

In January, Hazan was slapped with a six-month ban on parliamentary activities by the Knesset Ethics Committee over a series of incidents in which he insulted his fellow lawmakers.

Though his longest, this was not his first time being banned from attending plenary and committee meetings.

Last year, he was suspended for a week due to his intimidating behavior against a Meretz MK in an on-air TV interview, in a stunt he said was coordinated with the hosting television channel.

In December 2015, the Ethics Committee also suspended Hazan from participating in parliamentary debates for a month due to a series of complaints against him. In February 2016, Hazan was again suspended from the committee hearings, this time by his own Likud party, after he skipped a plenum vote resulting in a loss for the party.

Raoul Wootliff contributed to this report.

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