Likud bad boy abandons party, further splintering Israel’s right

After failing to reach a realistic spot in the Likud primaries, the maverick freshman politician decides to head another small party on the right.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Oren Hazan announced Monday night that he has left the Likud after one term in the Knesset to lead a party that had disappeared from Israel’s political map years ago.

Writing on his Facebook page, the fiercely conservative politician called for all the small parties on the Right to unite under his leadership in order “to save right-wing votes from being thrown into the trash.”

“I’m calling to every truly right-wing party that does not give in to American pressure and that keeps the good of the people of Israel, the Land of Israel, the Torah of Israel and the soldiers of the IDF at the forefront of its thoughts – to join me,” he wrote.

Promising to put them in realistic spots, he added, “We have to put egos aside, stop the war over seats and run together” because “the state is in danger.”

Hazan also said that the party’s agenda would include social aspects as well as strengthening the Likud from the right.

“It is already clear that we are facing the struggle against corruption, for integrity, concern for the individual, the policemen, the soldiers, the disabled and the farmers without whom we have no part in this land,” the Facebook post continued. Hazan also took credit for helping the “little guy” in the Knesset, saying “I know and understand the real problems of the public.”

Hazan has been a controversial figure over the last four years, noted especially for his harsh language against Arab List MKs and his boorish behavior against several female Knesset colleagues. However, his outspoken support for Elor Azarya, the soldier briefly imprisoned for killing a neutralized terrorist in Hebron in 2016, gained him the favor of many young right-wing activists. He has also gained points for strongly advocating the deportation of the tens of thousands of illegal African migrants.

His move to Tzomet is a direct reaction to receiving a very low place on the Likud list for the upcoming elections. In a news conference after the disappointing results came in two weeks ago, he blamed the prime minister for his poor showing. He claimed that he was targeted among other reasons because he called for Netanyahu to step down if he is indicted in the corruption cases being considered against him.

Tzomet was originally founded as a secular right-wing party by former chief of staff Refael (Raful) Eitan in 1983. It is best known for the fact that one of its MKS, Gonen Segev, betrayed the party’s principles and voted for the Oslo Accords in exchange for receiving a ministerial portfolio. His vote allowed the controversial agreement with the PLO to pass in the Knesset. Segev is currently serving a prison sentence for spying for Iran.

The party ran in a joint “National Camp” list with the Likud and Gesher in 1996 but thereafter ran alone and never crossed the electoral threshold again. The last time it ran was in 2009, when it only drew 1,520 votes country-wide. It currently has no branches or activists, so Hazan apparently has an uphill climb to reconstitute the party from scratch.