Israel: Controversial head of Ashdod port workers’ union cleared of corruption charges by Histadrut

Alon Hassan, head of the Ashdod port workers’ union, stepped down from his post several months ago following extensive and widely-publicized allegations of corruption.  Hassan was accused of owning companies that made deals with port owners.  The Histadrut, Israel’s national trade union centre, appointed its chief legal advisor to head up an inquiry and it has now reported that Hassan has been cleared of the charges – allowing him to return to his post.  But Hassan remains a deeply divisive figure, and Labour Party leader Shelly Yachimovich has blasted the decision.

On her Facebook page, she wrote that “”It is a serious mistake to reinstate Alon Hasson as chairman of the Ashdod Port workers committee. Hassan is a rotten apple who stains labor leaders, all workers, and us, the fighters for organized labor who believe in it. The Histadrut was right to suspend him, and wrong to reinstate him today, ‘because he no longer has business relations with the port’. I deeply regret this. Netanyahu, Lapid, Bennett, and Yisrael Katz can go out and dance in the streets. They have been given the best weapon that privatizers and haters of organized labor could have dreamed of. Hassan is not just a symbol mentioned every time they want to privatize state assets, shame, destroy a union, or outsource. He is not just a symbol; he is a true corrupt thug.”