MK Oren Hazan.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Female lawmakers denounced scandal-plagued Likud MK Oren Hazan for making misogynistic comments in the Knesset on Tuesday, with one characterizing them as sexual harassment.
During a debate in the Knesset Finance Committee, when Hazan disagreed with Kulanu MK Rachel Azaria, he said: “I could teach you a thing or two.”
Zionist Union MK Michal Biran responded that Azaria “can do without your expertise in running a casino in Burgas.”
“I wouldn’t even let you be a dealer,” Hazan said.
“You’re a pimp; it’s shameful that you’re a Knesset member,” Biran responded.
Biran was referring to a 2015 Channel 2 News report that Hazan managed a casino
in Burgas, Bulgaria, pimping prostitutes and providing methamphetamine to Israeli tourists, and using drugs himself.
Hazan sued for libel and the court found last year that the reports related to prostitutes and drug use were defensible, but not that of dealing drugs.
“Let me get you a job application, even though I don’t think anyone will look at you,” Hazan told Biran in the Finance Committee meeting.
Azaria then accused Hazan of being a “rude chauvinist” and told him to stop his behavior.
“Oh, now I’m a chauvinist?” Hazan asked.
“Noooo, noooo,” Azaria retorted sarcastically.
Hazan then lamented that there is a “women’s junta” in the Knesset.
Biran submitted a complaint to the Knesset Ethics Committee, describing the events and writing, “In other words, Hazan told me I should be a prostitute.”
“This humiliating and sexist behavior by MK Hazan is sexual harassment,” Biran wrote. “I expect the committee to take the incident seriously and take the necessary steps to punish the MK and warn against the recurrence of such events.”
Azaria said that the longer Hazan remains an MK, the worse the Knesset looks.
“MK Oren Hazan systematically damages the public’s trust in MKs,” she said. “His statements today... are harmful, and I will not stand by silently. Every time there is a serious discussion and MK Hazan enters the committee, it becomes rude and populist. The regular tools the Knesset has do not work. We must take severe steps against such incidents.”
The Ethics Committee has ruled against Hazan in a series of incidents in which he made comments deemed to be inappropriate to female MKs, including Ayelet Nahmias-Verbin (Zionist Union), Karin Elharar (Yesh Atid), Aida Touma-Sliman (Joint List) and Stav Shaffir (Zionist Union).
However, the committee did say that it was unbecoming of lawmakers to call Hazan a pimp.
Hazan called on Biran to opt out of her parliamentary immunity so he can sue her for “libel, slander and defamation.”
“After attempted eliminations and targeted assassinations by the Palestinian Authority, haters of Israel and the Arab traitors in the Knesset, who try time and again to silence me, now another leftist MK has joined them,” Hazan said. He did not clarify how and when the PA allegedly attempted to kill him.