Israel-Australia Chamber of Commerce apologises for Litzman meeting

May 28, 2019 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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In response to the outrage regarding Sunday’s meeting between a senior Australian delegation and Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman, both the Israel-based  Israel-Australia Chamber of Commerce and Deputy Premier of West Australia has apologised for facilitating the event.

Rabbi Litzman 3rd left with Roger Cook on his left

The Israel-Australia Chamber of Commerce is the sister organisation of the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce. Rabbu Yaakov Litzman is being investigated for protecting Malka Leifer wanted for 74 offences in Melbourne of child sexual abuse while being principal of the Adass Yisroel girls’ school.

Executive Director Paul Israel said: “The Israel-Australia Chamber of Commerce is currently hosting a trade delegation being led by the WA Minister for Health – The Hon Roger Cook MLA and as requested, a meeting was arranged with his Israeli counterpart to discuss health research innovation, digital health and related topics.

Attending the meeting were experts from both countries including the respective Chief Scientists.

Minister Cook was not aware of the allegations against Deputy Minister Litzman prior to the meeting and this is something the Chamber deeply regrets.

On reflection, the Chamber is profoundly sorry for facilitating the meeting with Litzman whilst there are serious allegations made against him and fully supports the campaign to bring Malka Leifer to justice in Australia.

The Chamber sincerely apologises to the victims, their families and supporters for causing any hurt and pain.”

A spokesperson said: “Minister Cook is leading a trade delegation to Israel with key members of the WA health research and innovation sector, including private sector representatives. Israel is recognised as a global leader in this area.

Program arrangements have been made in conjunction with the Australian Embassy in Israel, the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce and the WA Government Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation (DJTSI) to encourage investment and grow jobs in our State.

Whilst the current court proceedings are a matter for the Israeli justice system, Minister Cook would never wish to cause pain or suffering to any alleged victims of child sex abuse.

Minister Cook was unaware of the allegations against Minister Litzman prior to arriving in Jerusalem for that meeting.”

Child sexual abuse advocate Manny Waks added: “While it is most regrettable that this meeting took place in the first place, the Chamber’s response to the outrage and hurt is most welcome – they have taken full responsibility for this debacle and apologised unequivocally for it. It seems Minister Cook was completely unaware of the circumstances, and therefore has nothing to answer for. Hopefully, lessons have been learned, and we can all move on from this unfortunate saga. My thoughts continue to be with Leifer’s courageous alleged victims.”

Survivor Dassi Erlich wrote on Facebook:  “Thank you for taking responsibility and apologising for the pain this meeting caused.”

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