MK Oren Hazan.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
The Likud removed MK Oren Hazan from two committees Tuesday, the day after the coalition lost a vote that Hazan skipped without coordinating his absence.
Following a decision by coalition chairman Tzachi Hanegbi (Likud), Hazan will be replaced by MK Amir Ohana (Likud) in the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and in the House Committee. Ohana was sworn in to the Knesset in December, but was not appointed to any committees until Tuesday.
Hanegbi wrote in a letter to Likud faction members 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 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 stop his membership [in the committees] via our faction.”
Hazan responded by thanking Hanegbi for clearing time in his schedule for more important matters, like the other committees of which he is a member – Finance and State Control.
In a dig at Hanegbi, who is also chairman of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Hazan said, “It is not functioning, discussions don’t happen, relevant people to do not appear before it and in practicality, it has no influence.”
Hazan also said Hanegbi is “not taking responsibility for his failure in the vote and is taking out his personal frustrations about not being appointed a minister on me.”
“It is important to show responsibility and maturity and keep the Likud united and not let petty disputes about egos harm the Likud,” he added.
Ohana said: “I am happy and thankful for the expression of trust in me by appointing me to two such significant committees. I plan to do my job in a way that is faithful to my voters and the citizens of Israel, using my experience in defense and law.”
On Monday night, Hazan left the Knesset without finding someone to offset his absence, though he was not the only lawmaker to do so.
The coalition and opposition thus tied 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.
Coalition chairman Tzachi Hanegbi (Likud) said he tried calling Hazan many times to ask him to come back and vote, but he did not answer, and that there would be consequences for his frequent truancy.
“I don’t understand,” Hazan tweeted Tuesday morning, “Was I appointed coalition chairman that all of its problems are on my shoulders? Thirty-two MKs aren’t in the building, Oren is to blame.
Failure in a vote, Hazan is to blame. By the way, I did not get one phone call from Tzachi!” In December, the Knesset Ethics Committee punished Hazan for ethical violations, mostly involving name-calling of other MKs, suspending him for a month from all Knesset activities except for voting. However, he did not show up for the votes that month and the coalition suffered losses.