Australian Jewish leaders slam Litzman plea bargain deal

January 28, 2022 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Former minister and member of Israel’s United Torah Judaism Party Yaakov Litzman signed a plea deal with Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit on Thursday, admitting to breach of trust…reported i24.

The report says Litzman will be convicted in the case of Malka Leifer, avoiding jail time, and instead be sentenced to probation, and a fine of roughly $940. The deal is pending approval by a judge.

He was accused of pressuring employees to alter the results of psychiatric evaluations deeming Leifer, who was accused of sexually assaulting minors, fit for extradition to Australia. Leifer was extradited last year, facing trial in Australia for abusing girls at a Jewish school where she was principal.

The Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council says it is “very disappointed: with the plea bargain to end the criminal trial of former Israeli deputy health minister Yaakov Litzman.

Rabbi Yaakov Litzman

Litzman was charged with obstruction of justice for alleged attempts to use his position to help accused child sex offender Malka Leifer avoid extradition to Australia to face charges.

The provisions of the reported plea deal are that he will plead guilty to the lesser charge of breach of trust, will receive only a nominal fine and a suspended sentence and will not be prevented from continuing as a Knesset member.

AIJAC Executive Director Dr Colin Rubenstein said, “We are very troubled by this arrangement. It is a truth in both secular and Jewish jurisprudence that justice must not only be done, but must be seen to be done, and neither of these requirements would seem to be fulfilled here.

“This result can only add to the trauma of Malka Leifer’s alleged victims, and we express our support for them at what must be a difficult time. There is no doubt they will be feeling let down by the Israeli justice system. Their distress will be shared by the Australian Jewish community as a whole, which has followed and admired their inspirational fight for justice.

“We note that the deal must be approved by a judge, who we hope  ensures that Litzman is properly and appropriately held accountable for his conduct, and justice is served.” Dr Rubenstein concluded.

The president of the Zionist Federation of Australia Jeremy Leibler said: “If Yaakov Litzman has pled guilty to a charge of breach of trust … it is difficult to comprehend how a small fine and suspended sentence delivers justice to the survivors of Leifer’s alleged abuse.

“While we respect the Israeli judicial process, we urge the court which must approve the deal to have regard to the impact that Litzman’s alleged conduct has had and continues to have on the public’s confidence in the integrity of Israel’s elected officials.

Peter Wertheim, co-CEO of The Executive Council of Australian Jewry has questions for the powers that be in Israel. He asks:

“How many times were we told that the delay in extraditing Malka Leifer to Australia was duly solely to the necessity for due process? How often were we told to place our trust in Israel’s system of justice?

We are thankful that Israel finally extradited Leifer to Australia after seven years of extradition proceedings.

But for how many years were those proceedings wrongfully prolonged, to the added distress and anxiety of the survivors of Leifer’s alleged abuse, as a consequence of Yaakov Litzman misusing his former position as deputy health minister to thwart the extradition?

Any interference in the course of justice by a government minister is an abuse of power of the utmost gravity. For the sake of Israel’s good name and the high reputation of its system of justice, such abuse needs to be punished with appropriate severity.  A fine and a suspended sentence, as envisaged by the plea deal struck between Litzman and Israel’s Attorney General, fall well short of the mark.  The deal can only take effect if it is approved by an Israeli court.  No judge should approve it.



One Response to “Australian Jewish leaders slam Litzman plea bargain deal”
  1. john nemesh says:

    Litzmann is an utter degradation of humanity.

    He deserves to stew in a cell for a long time

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