Editor’s Note: Some stories are simply very painful for YWN to report, but to ignore them are irresponsible and wrong. This story, as painful as it is to publish, has been the leading story in the Israeli news for the past few days – including on the leading Chareidi websites. The ramifications of the story can have have serious effects on the upcoming elections, as well as on many Mosdos Hatorah. It would be irresponsible on many levels to turn a blind eye to this story.
We therefore publish the following with a heavy heart:
Police are recommending a criminal indictment against Deputy Health Minister (Yahadut Hatorah) Yaakov Litzman for fraud, breach of trust and other alleged crimes.
Israel Police case 1452 has come to an end, and police are recommending the State Prosecutor file a criminal indictment against Litzman in two cases involving alleged bribery, fraud and breach of trust.
The main case is that Litzman is suspected of preventing the extradition of a woman wanted for 74 serious offenses in Australia. Police questioned Litzman in the case in February 2019, as reported by YWN-Israel. In his statement to the media, he explained his office assists countless people who turn to him and he is not aware of the details in her case and has no personal connection to her.
The case is being handled by Lahav 433, the Israel Police Major Crimes Unit. After the unit completed questioning Litzman and gathering evidence, the decision was made to recommend a criminal indictment. Police add the evidence also shows he abused the position of his office to advance matters, including this case, where he allegedly persuaded psychiatrists to write letters attesting to the woman’s mental state and inability to be extradited.
He also allegedly abused his authority to persuade authorities towards assisting a food company owned by relatives, which in this case entails preventing the closure due to the serious sanitary violations found which have resulted in the morbidity of a number of people eating its produce. The affair was titled “The food selling business affair”.
The Shas Party issued a statement defending Litzman.
“The Shas movement affirms its support of Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman, a faithful public envoy who has dealt with requests from the public for decades and his left his door open to all,” says the party. “We are sure that his innocence will be proven and that justice will soon be revealed.”
Transportation Minister Bezalel Smotrich of the United Right MK also defended Litzman:
Smotrich tweeted, “I do not know the investigation material in Litzman’s case. I do know him and his dedicated office as those who give a personal and wonderful response [to every person who approaches them for help], regardless of race or gender religion.
“The police statement [announcing their recommendation] appears to be another attempt to deprive public officials of the power to act, instead forcing the delegation to unelected bureaucrats, thereby delegitimizing intervention by elected officials.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)