Likud MK Oren Hazan.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Likud MK Oren Hazan's title of Deputy Knesset Speaker was given to MK Hamad Amar (Yisrael Beytenu) Wednesday, while the former was on a trip to the US that included a stop at an outlet mall.
Amar received the title as part of an agreement with Yisrael Beytenu, which joined the coalition last week. The other Deputy Speaker from Likud, MK Nurit Koren, retained her title.
The changes were made in the Knesset House Committee with no opposition, as Hazan was abroad. On Tuesday, he admitted on Twitter that he was going shopping in Jersey Gardens, a New Jersey outlet mall popular with Israeli tourists visiting New York.
On Sunday, he participated in the Salute to Israel Parade in Manhattan.
Hazan has been collecting the monthly extra NIS 2000 a Deputy Knesset Speaker receives for a year, without actually managing any Knesset plenum meetings.
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein refused to give Hazan any shifts, because of a news report that the freshman MK procured prostitutes and crystal meth for customers of the Bulgarian casino at which he worked before returning to Israel to enter politics. Hazan is currently suing Amit Segal, the Channel 2 News reporter who exposed his alleged past.
Since then, Hazan been at the center of several scandals, including a shouting match with a Zionist Union MK in the Knesset parking lot and the apparent mockery of a disabled lawmaker, leading to a suspension from the legislature.
The Likud also removed Hazan from his posts in several Knesset committees, after he was absent from plenum votes without coordinating with the coalition chairman.
On Tuesday night, in a statement complaining about being stripped of his title, Hazan said: "Anyone who knows me and my work knows that titles and jobs were never important to me."
Hazan said he trusts Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who he claimed personally committed to giving the MK a "toolbox that will allow me to serve the Israeli public."
However, the Likud MK complained about his faction, saying: "I feel the general embarrassment about the awkward management of the Likud faction, the legality of which is doubtful and certainly does not strengthen the public's trust in the party, to say the least."
According to Hazan, the fact that the Knesset renewed his title as Deputy Speaker last week and then canceled it this week shows the Likud is "unstable and untrustworthy" and disrespects the Knesset.