(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
The Knesset Ethics Committee decided not to make a ruling about scandals relating to MK Oren Hazan (Likud), as they took place before he was elected.
Hazan lived and worked in Burgas, Bulgaria, last year, where he says he worked in a hotel frequented by Israeli tourists.
However, a Channel 2 News report alleged that Hazan worked in a casino and would provide prostitutes and crystal meth to its Israeli patrons.
The Ethics Committee wrote on Tuesday that it received many complaints about Hazan following the report, which said his alleged actions shame the Knesset, that the committee should investigate whether they are true, and that if they are he should face sanctions.
The committee consulted with Knesset Legal Adviser Eyal Yinon, who told the lawmakers that they do not have the jurisdiction to punish a member of Knesset for things he did before he was elected to the Knesset.
However, the committee wrote, “Our decision does not lessen the severity with which we see the actions attributed to MK Hazan...[which] caused great damage to the Knesset’s dignity and status, for which the Ethics Committee is responsible.”
The committee said it supports Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein’s decision, made the day after the report was aired, to refrain from scheduling Hazan for any shifts as deputy Knesset speaker.
Edelstein does not have the authority to strip Hazan of the title, but has made sure that the Likud MK does not actually manage any Knesset meetings.
Hazan’s attorney, Zion Amir, responded: “Now that the Knesset Ethics Committee thoroughly examined the matter, even if the most stringent person thought that, two months ago, it was justified to suspend him from running [Knesset] meetings, it is clear that now [the decision] must be reversed and MK Hazan must go back to fully doing his job.”