Bibi bars bridge battle

Bibi bars bridge battle

Oren Hazan in a calm Knesset moment
Oren Hazan in a calm Knesset moment

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stepped in on Wednesday to calm tensions with neighboring Jordan by vetoing a one-on-one battle arranged by two pugilistic legislators, one from Israel and one from Jordan.

Israeli lawmaker Oren Hazan had agreed to fight Yehiya al-Saud at the border between the two countries. Both parliamentarians are known for their anger.

“The shoe of any Palestinian child is more honorable than this villain and his entity [meaning country] and the shoe of any Arab and Muslim is better than him and his rogue entity, which has no origin and religion,” al-Saud said, according to Jordanian reports.

In a tweet sent Tuesday evening, Hazan said he accepted al-Saud’s call to meet on the Allenby Bridge at 10 a.m. the following day. “I’ve got an offer he can’t refuse,” he tweeted back.

Subsequent tweets showed photos of Hazan at the barbershop, having his hair trimmed, and in his car on the way to the Allenby Bridge. He said in a tweet that he was coming “in peace.”

Less than an hour before the fight was scheduled, however, the prime minister’s office said in a statement that the chief of staff, Yoav Horovitz, had ordered Hazan to stay away from the Allenby Bridge. Hazan later said that he canceled the face-to-face meeting, or brawl, with al-Saud at the prime minister’s request.

Hazan said he would ask the Foreign Ministry to organize a formal meeting with al-Saud.

Saud reportedly has pulled a knife on a fellow lawmaker and cursed female lawmakers.

Hazan has been accused of sexually assaulting female employees at a bar he owned in Tel Aviv, doing drugs with guests at a casino he managed in Bulgaria and procuring prostitutes for them, physically assaulting an official in his West Bank hometown, and twice making fun of a fellow Knesset member for being disabled. He was admonished last week by the Knesset’s Ethics Committee for insults against female lawmakers.

During President Donald Trump’s May visit to Israel, Hazan was reprimanded for taking a selfie with Trump in the receiving line during the welcome ceremony for the president and first lady at Ben Gurion International Airport.

JTA Wire Service

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