New bill to have consequences for Hazan after his parliamentary antics

House Ctee bill would allow a deputy Knesset speaker to be removed from his post.

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January 18, 2016 15:59
2 minute read.
Oren Hazan

Oren Hazan. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

 
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Deputy Knesset Speaker Oren Hazan (Likud) is likely to lose his title soon, after the Knesset House Committee authorized a bill making it easier to do so on Monday.

The bill, proposed by committee chairman David Bitan (Likud), would allow a deputy speaker to be removed from the post by a vote of 70 MKs, as opposed to 90 under current Knesset rules.

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It would also allow a deputy speaker to be dismissed by a faction’s sending a letter to the Knesset Speaker to that effect.

Hazan was appointed one of 10 deputy speakers last year.

After Channel 2 reported that, while working in a casino in Burgas, Bulgaria, Hazan procured crystal meth and prostitutes for Israeli patrons, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein decided not to assign Hazan any shifts as deputy speaker. Since then, Hazan has made headlines with his constant parliamentary antics.

Edelstein and the Likud are legally unable to strip Hazan of the title and replace him with someone else. Thus, Hazan has remained deputy speaker but has never done anything that the job entails.

While Hazan’s name was not mentioned at the meeting, it was clear that the bill was meant to target him.



“What happens if a deputy speaker isn’t doing his job,” Bitan said, defending the bill.

“We have to give the faction power in this situation.”

Bitan also expressed concern that someone who had agreed to take the deputy speaker job on a rotating basis – like Hazan, who is meant to leave the position in June – might refuse to leave, and no one would have the power to force him to do so.

The House Committee chairman’s proposal was to have the bill apply only to the next group of deputy speakers, but MK Yoel Hasson (Zionist Union) tabled a change that would have the law be effective immediately on passage – meaning it would immediately apply to Hazan – which the committee approved.

Hasson wondered aloud if Bitan were instructed by more senior Likud officials to pass the bill.

MK Bezalel Smotrich (Bayit Yehudi) expressed concern that the new law would politicize the position of deputy speaker.

“I try to be as statesmanlike as possible in my work. I don’t want to be a marionette of my faction, which will be able to pressure me to put their motions to the agenda or parliamentary questions first,” he said.

Hazan, who did not attend the committee meeting, said later: “When there is no security for Israeli citizens, who are being murdered and their blood is being spilled like water, dealing with a bill whose sole purpose is cheap populism and personal promotion shames those dealing with it. I will not take part in this festival.”

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