A Likud lawmaker who never seems to shy away from controversy enraged fellow lawmakers early Tuesday morning when he mocked an opposition MK’s physical disability during a Knesset vote.
During the late-night vote on amending the universal draft law, MK Oren Hazan shouted at wheelchair-bound Yesh Atid MK Karin Elharar, “Need Issawi to help you?”
Elharar suffers from muscular dystrophy. Last week Hazan accused her of illegal double-voting after she asked Meretz MK Issawi Frej to help her cast her vote in the plenum.
Hazan’s father Yehiel Hazan lost his Knesset seat after 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.
The younger Hazan is no stranger to controversy. The rookie lawmaker, who entered politics ahead of the March elections, has been at the center of a number of scandals earlier this year after television exposés accused him of sexual assault, soliciting prostitutes and using crystal meth when he managed a European casino.
Last month he filed a libel lawsuit against a Channel 2 reporter for a “tsunami of false accusations” against him.
After Monday night’s vote, Yesh Atid party leader Yair Lapid called on Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein to eject Hazan from the plenum for making fun of Elharar.
“An MK constantly mocks the disability of another MK, you can’t not do something about the matter,” Lapid is seen telling Edelstein on Knesset Channel footage from the plenum. “He sits there and scorns her. You need to throw him out of here… I intentionally waited until after the vote on the [universal draft law] to complain,” Lapid said, as Likud needed Hazan’s vote to pass the bill, which Yesh Atid opposes. “Now kick him out of the hall.”
Edelstein urged Lapid to lodge a complaint against Hazan with the Knesset Ethics Committee, but refrained from tossing the Likud MK out.
Hazan on Tuesday insisted he didn’t insult Elharar’s disability, but was protesting Frej’s violation of Knesset procedure: “It wasn’t about her. If MK Elharar was offended by me, then I apologize to her,” he said in an Army Radio interview.
Hazan then tweeted that Lapid and opposition leader MK Isaac Herzog (Zionist Union) were “competing in whining.”
“A braggart whose nightly defeats don’t do him well ran to cry about me to the Knesset speaker: ‘Get him out… get him out…’ Does anyone have a tissue?” he tweeted about Lapid’s complaint to Edelstein.
Herzog wrote on Twitter that Hazan’s conduct “stains the Knesset. But the real embarrassment is that [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu, as usual, makes zero effort to remove the stain.”