Israeli Minister suspected of intervening in case of alleged Australian sex abuser Malka Leifer questioned again

February 17, 2019 by TPS
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Israeli Deputy Minister of Health Yaacov Litzman was questioned by the police on Thursday and again on Sunday on suspicion that he intervened on behalf of alleged Australian sex abuser Malka Leifer and pressured psychiatrists into declaring her unfit for extradition.

Yaakov Litzman:  Photo by Hillel Maeir/TPS

According to the allegations, which have covertly been under investigation in recent months, Litzman utilized his position as Deputy Minister of Health to ensure that Leifer received a psychiatric evaluation that ensured she could not be extradited to Australia to stand trial for the multiple offenses she was charged with in the country, an act which could constitute an obstruction of justice.

Leifer, the former principal of an ultra-Orthodox high school for girls in Melbourne, is wanted in Australia on 74 counts of sexual abuse. The accusations date to Leifer’s time as headmistress of the ultra-Orthodox Adass Israel school from 2001-2008. She fled the country, allegedly with the assistance of members of her community, as news surfaced that Melbourne police had asked the court for an arrest warrant, and moved to the Haredi town of Emmanuel, in Samaria.

Australia filed a request for her extradition in 2014, while her defense attorneys have argued consistently that she is not mentally fit to stand trial. In June 2016 a court-appointed psychiatrist accepted the claim, and Leifer was released from custody and extradition proceedings were halted.

However, the proceedings were renewed in February 2018 when an undercover investigation revealed that Leifer was apparently leading a functional, normative life. She was re-arrested, charged with obstruction of justice, and extradition proceedings began anew. Leifer is being held at the Neve Tirza women’s prison. A Jerusalem court in August 2018 declared her fit to face extradition proceedings.

Dassi Erlich, one of Leifer’s alleged abuse victims, tweeted in response to the news about Litzman’s alleged involvement that he “should be out of any position of power or influence. This entire case has been handled in an appalling manner. Only the women from Australia have done right here and have shockingly stayed strong.”

Addressing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Twitter, Erlich asked “why are you not asking Litzman to step down? Why is he still health minister when police say there are recordings of Litzman in his office speaking to health ministry officials and pressing them to act on Leifer’s behalf!”

Litzman stated that he was cooperating with the authorities.

Member of Knesset Michal Biran (Labor), who has been accompanying Leifer’s victims for the past two years, stated that if Leifer did, in fact, escape extradition with Litzman’s help, he should step down from his position.
“The intervention and the attempt to disrupt evidence is severe in its own right, but even more so when it comes to serious and unforgivable offenses such as pedophilia and the exploitation of minors,” she said.

Minister of Justice Ayelet Shaked stated she was personally involved with the case and would ensure that Leifer was extradited the moment it was legally possible.

 

Comments

One Response to “Israeli Minister suspected of intervening in case of alleged Australian sex abuser Malka Leifer questioned again”
  1. Adrian Jackson says:

    Why hasn’t he been sacked as a cabinet minister?

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