United Torah Judaism MK Yaakov Litzman

Litzman to plead guilty to breach of trust in accused pedophile case

Former health minister will receive a suspended sentence and a fine in exchange for his immediate resignation from Knesset after aiding an accused child abuser in avoiding extradition to Australia

Tova Zimuki, Moran Azulay |
Published: 01.27.22, 15:49
United Torah Judaism MK Yaakov Litzman struck a plea deal on Thursday which will see him plead guilty to breach of trust charges for interfering in the extradition process to Australia of an alleged child abuser.
  • Follow Ynetnews on Facebook and Twitter

  • Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit announced last May he intended to indict the former housing minister for obstruction of justice and breach of trust, subject to a hearing, in two criminal investigations.
    3 View gallery
    יעקב ליצמן
    יעקב ליצמן
    United Torah Judaism MK Yaakov Litzman
    (Photo: Alex Kolomoisky)
    One of the cases involved Litzman allegedly interfering unlawfully in the case of Malka Leifer — an ultra-Orthodox educator who was accused of sexually assaulting several of her former underaged students in Australia before fleeing to Israel.
    Leifer launched a years-long legal battle against efforts to extradite her back to Australia under the pretense of mental health issues, making her unfit to stand trial.
    Litzman, who then served as deputy health minister, was accused of allegedly pressing Health Ministry officials to produce a false psychiatric report for Leifer, claiming she was unfit to stand trial in order to block her extradition.
    Leifer was eventually extradited to Australia by Israel in January 2021 after a years-long legal battle.
    3 View gallery
    מלכה לייפר
    מלכה לייפר
    Malka Leifer
    (Photo: Amit Shabi)
    As part of the Litzman's plea bargain, he will receive a suspended sentence and a fine in exchange for his immediate resignation from the Knesset.
    The State Prosecutor's Office will also not demand Litzman be slapped with a moral turpitude clause, which will effectively ban him from political life for seven years.
    "Unfortunately, today is a difficult day that caused Leifer's victims great sorrow," said a spokesperson for Magen, a group that accompanies several of Leifer's victims through the legal process.
    "We sympathize with the anger of the victims regarding the plea deal, and even though according to the Israeli legal system, they are not part of the case, there was room to hear their opinion on the matter."
    3 View gallery
    מלכה לייפר עולה על מטוס בדרך לאוסטרליה
    מלכה לייפר עולה על מטוס בדרך לאוסטרליה
    Leifer extradited to Australia
    "We hope that [Litzman's] confession will give validity to these serious accusations, and that next time politicians will understand that they are not above the law."
    Litzman's plea deal came days after Aryeh Deri, the leader of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, submitted his resignation letter from the Knesset, following a plea deal over tax offenses that obliges him to quit parliament.
    Talkbacks for this article 0