Oren Hazan
Oren HazanHadas Parush/Flash 90

Hours after being suspended from Knesset discussions for six months, MK Oren Hazan (Likud) on Wednesday evening caused yet another firestorm.

Hazan was taking part in the last meeting he was allowed to attend before his suspension from the plenum came into effect.

He referred to the Ethics Committee's decision to remove him from the plenum and from the committees for half a year and said, "Is such a reality possible in which the members of the Joint Hamas List shame you all and I tell them what some of you are afraid to say, and yet I am punished?”

Hazan then called the members of the Ethics Committee “a group of radical leftists”. It was his next sentence, however, that caused anger among the MKs.

"I turned today to Stalin, sorry to Knesset Speaker Edelstein, and asked him to apologize to the prime minister for those embarrassing recordings,” he said, referring to recordings that were leaked to the media this week and in which Edelstein is heard criticizing Netanyahu.

Hazan's use of the name “Stalin” caused an uproar, with MKs Hilik Bar (Zionist Union) and Bezalel Smotrich (Jewish Home) encouraging Knesset members to leave the plenum during Hazan's remarks in protest against the use of that name when referring to the Knesset Speaker.

Deputy Knesset Speaker MK Revital Swid (Zionist Union), who chaired the meeting, asked Hazan to apologize to Edelstein, but he refused. Swid in turn denounced his comments and said, "I want to apologize on behalf of all of us for the fact that the Knesset Speaker, a former Prisoner of Zion, was called such a name. He was expelled from the university and imprisoned because he refused to call Stalin a hero.”

Hazan later apologized for the remark, saying, "I, unlike Yuli, know how to apologize. Yuli said that the prime minister is crazy, not worthy, and would not apologize for it. I, on the other hand, fully apologize for my Freudian slip of the tongue.”

“Everyone forgets one thing: Edelstein suspends an MK who fights MKs who support terrorism, such as Tibi, Zoabi and their colleagues, who were on the Mavi Marmara and who call IDF soldiers 'murderers,'” he added.

The Knesset Ethics Committee's decision to suspend Hazan and dock his salary for a week came after five complaints were submitted against him by Knesset members from various parties.

During the course of the suspension, Hazan will be permitted to vote, but he will not be allowed to speak or submit bills, parliamentary questions, or motions for the agenda.

On Tuesday, the Ethics Committee suspended Zionist Union MKs Michal Biran and Stav Shafir for a week from plenum and committee deliberations.

Biran was suspended for calling Hazan a "pimp". Shafir's suspension came after she yelled "corrupt, corrupt" at MK Miki Zohar (Likud). Part of the severity of the punishment of the two MKs stems from the fact that they refused to apologize for their remarks.