Kristine L Ming

Oren Hazan ‘won’t rule out’ running against Netanyahu for head of Likud

Scandal-plagued Likud backbencher Oren Hazan said he may run against Benjamin Netanyahu for prime minister, he said at the “Likudiada” retreat for Likud members in Eilat Friday.

“I don’t rule out running for the head of the Likud before the next election, no matter who the candidates are,” Hazan said on stage at the event.

Hazan, who entered the Knesset in the Likud’s young candidate slot, has been a magnet for scandal in his nearly three years in the Knesset, beginning with a Channel 2 report that he was involved in pimping and drug dealing in Bulgaria, to sneaking into US President Donald Trump’s reception at the airport and taking a selfie with him, to almost getting into a fist fight with a Jordanian parliamentarian and endless shouting matches with his fellow Knesset members.

Still, sources close to the 35-year-old said he is confident he could do well in a race against Netanyahu.

MK Oren Hazan (Likud) snaps a selfie with visiting President Donald Trump (credit: GPO)

Speaking at the Likudiada, Hazan said: “When a man who’s not a politician is elected president of the US, who is older in his age, but young at heart, and around the world this year, young people are being elected, like Emmanuel Macron in France, who is 39 years old, Sebastian Kurtz in Austria, who is barely over 30, and a young woman in New Zealand, there’s no reason the prime minister [of Israel] can’t be under 40.”

The Likudiada is a privately-run retreat for Likud members. Many Likud lawmakers attend, though few of the senior ministers in the party made their way to Eilat for the weekend.

This week, the State Comptroller said that the Likudiada is an illegal Likud campaign donation, and fined the party NIS 350,000. The Likud said the event is no different from any other planned by private party members, and plans to contest the fine in court.

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