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Police recommend prosecuting Likud MK for assault

Oren Hazan denies he attacked Ariel mayor, says case ‘built on a foundation of lies and political rivalry’

MK Oren Hazan attends at a State Control Committee meeting on the subject of force-feeding prisoners who are on hunger strikes, at the Knesset on June 22, 2015. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
MK Oren Hazan attends at a State Control Committee meeting on the subject of force-feeding prisoners who are on hunger strikes, at the Knesset on June 22, 2015. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Police officials recommended Tuesday that Likud lawmaker Oren Hazan face charges for assaulting a public servant in 2014, prior to his entry into politics.

An investigation found that there was an “evidential basis” supporting allegations that Hazan had assaulted a civil servant and conducted a misdemeanor in a public space.

The case will be handed over to the State Attorney’s Office for review in the coming days, where officials will need to decide whether to accept the recommendation, a police statement said.

Hazan vehemently denied the allegations, which he claimed were baseless.

“I have no doubt in my heart that when the case reaches the attorney general…he will order it to be shelved for lack of guilt,” Hazan wrote on his Facebook page Tuesday.

“This case — in which I made the first complaint — is built on a foundation of lies and political rivalry. I believe that judicial officials will not drag this out into a media carnival and a campaign of incitement against me,” he continued.

The charges relate to a heated clash in 2014 — between Hazan, a resident of Ariel, and Eli Shaviro, the mayor of the West Bank settlement. Hazan allegedly assaulted Shaviro after a lien was placed on his bank account due to an outstanding debt.

Both sides filed complaints against each other, but after Hazan became a member of Knesset following the March 2015 elections, the case was moved from the Samaria police department to the Lahav 433 National Crime Unit, and police required approval by Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein to continue with the investigation.

Weinstein gave the go-ahead to police in June after a series of allegations were made against Hazan over his behavior before he won his Knesset seat.

Eli Shaviro (center) seen at a polling station in Ariel on October 22, 2013. (Flash90)
Eli Shaviro (center) seen at a polling station in Ariel on October 22, 2013. (Flash90)

Earlier in June, a number of women told the Israeli media that Hazan sexually harassed them when they worked for him at a bar several years ago.

Channel 10 broadcast the testimonies at the time and only a week after a Channel 2 television exposé tied Hazan to the management of a casino in Bulgaria, where he purportedly bought and smoked crystal meth and, to boot, regularly hired prostitutes for gamblers who were visiting his establishment.

Hazan denies the allegations.

According to the Channel 10 report, a number of young women formerly employed by Hazan, at the Hotel Fleisher bar in Tel Aviv, came forward and said the 33-year-old freshman lawmaker would often touch them inappropriately, brush up against them as if it was unintentional and take off his clothes after nights of heavy drinking.

In light of the mounting claims, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein banned Hazan from presiding over any Knesset meetings.

A number of politicians have since denounced Hazan’s behavior, but he has remained a member of the Knesset.

Sara Miller, Stuart Winer and Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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