MK Oren Hazan.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Likud MK Oren Hazan announced Saturday night that he would no longer be a member of any Knesset committee, in order to protest coalition chairman Tzachi Hanegbi’s decision to remove him from two panels due to his repeated absences from key votes in the plenum.
Hanegbi removed Hazan from two committees on Tuesday, the day after the coalition lost a vote that Hazan skipped without coordinating his absence. The coalition chairman decided that MK Amir Ohana (Likud) would replace Hazan on the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and the House Committee.
Hazan initially responded to his firing by criticizing Hanegbi’s chairmanship of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and by saying that his two remaining committees, Finance and State Control, were more worthy of his time. But he changed his tune Saturday night in statements he made on Channel 2’s Meet the Press program and his personal Twitter account.
“To protest my unjustified firing from Knesset committees despite only 29 MKs of the [coalition’s] 61 being present and because I am sick of the attitude that ‘Hazan is to blame for everything,’ I decided to resign from the remaining committees of which I am a member,” Hazan tweeted.
He told Channel 2 that he no longer considers himself obligated to coalition discipline in the Knesset plenum.
“I am obligated only to the land of Israel, the State of Israel, and the Torah of Israel,” said Hazan, who is not religiously observant.
Hanegbi and the Likud chose not to respond to Hazan’s resignation announcement, but a party official said that the freshman MK was only hurting himself.
“Whatever he leaves others will take with joy,” the Likud official said.
Hanegbi wrote in a letter to Likud faction members Tuesday that Hazan has intentionally missed votes for some time, in “constant protest against the faction of which he is a member,” making it difficult for the government and coalition to reach its goals.
“Beyond that, he is showing blatant disrespect for members of the faction who face off against the opposition every Monday and Wednesday, sometimes in the middle of the night,” Hanegbi added.
“Last night, his absence, without an offset, without justification, while ignoring attempts by the faction staff to make sure he will vote, brought down a bill... supported by the government...
Therefore, I decided to end his membership [in the committees] via our faction.”
The coalition and opposition vote tied at 29-29, which counts as a rejection, on the first reading of a bill that would have verdicts of military courts count as evidence in civilian courts.