Scandal-prone MK Oren Hazan eyeing Otzma after Likud trouncing

Otzma Yehudit said “sources close to Oren Hazan” asked the party to consider running together.

By
February 7, 2019 21:09
1 minute read.
Oren Hazan posing with a poster of his selfie with US President Donald Trump at the Leumiada

Oren Hazan posing with a poster of his selfie with US President Donald Trump at the Leumiada. (photo credit: Lahav Harkov)

 
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Likud MK Oren Hazan may run for the next Knesset in Otzma Yehudit after not reaching a realistic spot on the Likud list in this week’s primary.

Otzma Yehudit said “sources close to Oren Hazan” asked the party to consider running together.

The Likud backbencher had a tendency during his four years in the Knesset to harass Arab MKs, including asking them for identification as an IDF soldier at a checkpoint would, and adopting the catchphrase “The Land is for Israel and not for Ishmael.”

An Otzma Yehudit source said: “Out of responsibility for the votes on the ideological Right and unlike other factors who prefer to ignore their responsibility to tens of thousands of votes that could go down the drain and thus repeat the tragedy of 1992 and lead to the rule of a leftist government, we are examining many options.”

Otzma Yehudit, which means “Jewish Power,” is led by far-right activists Baruch Marzel, Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bentzi Gopstein, along with former MK Michael Ben-Ari, followers of the ideology of Rabbi Meir Kahane, who briefly served as an MK in the 1980s before being banned for spreading racist incitement. The Central Elections Committee has voted to ban Otzma in the past, but the Supreme Court overturned the bans.

The party has never passed the electoral threshold alone, and remained below the 3.25% needed in the last election, as well, when it ran together with deposed Shas leader Eli Yishai. They once got an MK, Ben-Ari, into the legislature by running as part of the National Union.

If the party gets into the next Knesset, it “will be strong, will not compromise and will not stutter, and will drag the whole Knesset to the Right,” the party source said. One party banner, hung in a highly-visible location outside Jerusalem’s Mahaneh Yehuda market reads: ““1,000 dead terrorists rather than one hair off of an IDF soldier.”

Hazan is best known for a long series of scandals in the Knesset, starting from his past as a casino manager who helped Israeli tourists in Bulgaria procure prostitutes and crystal meth, to his penchant for mocking physically handicapped MKs and making comments about female lawmakers’ appearance. He also snuck into US President Donald Trump’s reception when Air Force One landed in Israel, and took a selfie with the president.

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