Likud troublemaker Oren Hazan charged in 2014 assault

Likud troublemaker Oren Hazan charged in 2014 assault

Unruly MK accused of shoving an Ariel city official into a railing over a debt dispute

Marissa Newman is The Times of Israel political correspondent.

Likud Knesset Member Oren Hazan reacts during a Knesset plenary session, on November 27, 2017. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
Likud Knesset Member Oren Hazan reacts during a Knesset plenary session, on November 27, 2017. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Likud lawmaker Oren Hazan was indicted on Wednesday on assault charges dating back three years.

Hazan was charged on suspicion of assaulting a city official in the city of Ariel in the West Bank in 2014, before he entered Knesset, in an apparent dispute over a debt. He was indicted on charges of assaulting a civil servant and a misdemeanor in a public space.

Hazan waived his parliamentary immunity last month, ahead of the impending charges. Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit approved the indictment, which was lodged in the Petah Tikva Magistrate’s Court.

According to the indictment, Hazan’s mother had her bank account frozen for failing for eight years to pay property taxes on a restaurant owned by the family in Ariel.

Hazan allegedly went to the municipality to find the person responsible for freezing the account.

He then allegedly shouted and cursed a top city official, grabbed him and shoved him into a railing. The official tried to get away and enter a conference room, but Hazan followed him, closed the door behind him, and said, “No one is leaving here,” the indictment said.

Hazan then also allegedly entered the mayor’s office, shouted and cursed, refused to leave, and told him he would “take care of him” and make sure he did not remain in office.

Hazan’s lawyers said in September that they were disappointed by the indictment, and felt the case should have been dropped.

“We received with pain, disappointment, and even amazement the attorney general’s decision to indict MK Hazan for a spat… that happened many years ago, long before his election to the Knesset,” his lawyers said. “We had thought that the case would be shelved… since it had gone untouched for so long.”

Both sides filed a complaint, but after Hazan won a Knesset seat in the March 2015 elections, the case was transferred from the Samaria police department to the Lahav 433 National Crime Unit, and police required approval by the attorney general to proceed with the investigation.

Mandelblit’s predecessor, Yehuda Weinstein, gave police the go-ahead in June 2015 after a series of allegations were made against Hazan over his behavior before he entered the Knesset.

In September 2015, police said that an investigation found there was an “evidential basis” supporting allegations that Hazan had assaulted a civil servant and committed a misdemeanor in a public space.

Hazan has been dogged by a wave of scandals.

Shortly after he went into politics, Channel 2 News reported that Hazan had hired prostitutes for his friends and taken crystal meth while managing a casino in Bulgaria in 2013. He sued journalist Amit Segal for libel but the court rejected the bulk of the lawsuit, saying the report amounted to “responsible, serious journalism and reflected the reality as it was.”

Since his election to the Knesset two years ago, Hazan has publicly mocked a disabled colleague and has been temporarily banned from the Knesset twice over various wrongdoings. Most recently, he told a female lawmaker in a Knesset committee meeting that she was too ugly to be a prostitute.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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