Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

Knesset deputy speaker Oren Hazan facing accusations of pimping and drug use

The legislator has been barred from presiding over proceedings 'until further notice' after reports emerged about his time managing a casino in Bulgaria

Ben Lynfield
Tuesday 09 June 2015 21:50 BST
Oren Hazan has been barred indefinitely from chairing a Knesset session as deputy speaker
Oren Hazan has been barred indefinitely from chairing a Knesset session as deputy speaker (Getty Images)

The deputy speaker of the Knesset is fighting to survive allegations that he arranged for prostitutes to visit gamblers and used hard drugs while managing a casino in Bulgaria.

It was supposed to be a heady day for Oren Hazan, the first time the 33-year-old legislator from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party was to chair a Knesset session. Instead, he found himself barred from presiding over proceedings “until further notice” because of the report on Channel Two and the uproar it caused. Mr Hazan denies the allegations and has threatened to sue.

He has been accused of arranging prostitutes for gamblers at the Gold Casino in Burgas, Bulgaria. A Bulgarian driver told Channel Two that Mr Hazan would “call me and say ‘bring some girls, choose some girls, beautiful girls, tall and with large chests and bring them to me for my friends’”.

Mr Hazan said in a radio interview that “there were no drugs and no pimping”. He said: “We are not innocent – Burgas is a resort city and there is no doubt there are women going around in the streets and in the casino, but any connection between me and them never existed.”

In a separate interview, he denied knowing the people interviewed by Channel Two. His lawyer, Avraham Keren, told Israel Radio that Mr Hazan suffered from a serious health problem and that if he had used hard drugs he would have died.

Likud MPs were silent about the report. But other legislators, mainly on the left, said Mr Hazan should step down and one, Zahava Galon, head of the left-wing Meretz party, even called for an international police investigation.

Aida Suleiman, chairwoman of the Knesset committee on the status of women, said: “There are moral standards to stand up for. If this is true, he should pay the full price publicly and legally.”

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in