Leifer/Litzman: community has its say

August 7, 2019 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Leaders of community national organisations have reacted to the recommendation from the Israeli police to indict Ya’acov Litman on fraud and breach of trust in the part he has allegedly played in the Malka Leifer case.

Malka Leifer

The Zionist Federation of Australia (ZFA) welcomed the news that Israeli police have recommended that Deputy Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman be indicted on charges of fraud and breach of trust relating to the Malka Leifer case.

Leifer, an alleged paedophile and former principal of Adass Israel School in Melbourne was arrested in Israel in February 2018. If extradited to Australia, Leifer will face 74 charges of child sexual abuse against students under her care. Leifer’s defence has claimed that she is mentally unfit to be extradited, despite the Israeli courts receiving evidence to the contrary. It is alleged that Ya’acov Litzman, who belongs to the same Ultra-Orthodox sect as Leifer, abused his position to interfere judicially on behalf of at least 10 sex offenders, including Leifer.

Of the latest development, Jeremy Leibler, President of the ZFA said, “this is a very welcome step forward in a frustratingly long and drawn-out process to achieve justice for Leifer’s victims. It sadly also highlights the considerable evidence of attempts to unlawfully interfere with the extradition of Malka Leifer by a senior member of United Torah Judaism. We reiterate our call for Litzman to step down as Deputy Health Minister while the investigation is underway. These are extremely serious allegations and it is simply untenable for anyone in a position of public trust and responsibility to continue in their position while under investigation for fraud and breach of trust. There should be zero tolerance for an elected official who sabotages the rule of law – a democratic principle which is foundational to the State of Israel.”

Leibler concluded, “the Australian Jewish community joins Dassi Erlich, her sisters and all other victims of sexual abuse in their frustration at the many setbacks, delays and allegations of corruption in relation to the extradition of Leifer. We commend the Israeli State Prosecutor for his determination, in the face of these challenges, to facilitate the extradition of Leifer and hold accountable all those who have unlawfully interfered in this process. We remain hopeful and confident that this latest development will bring us closer to the extradition of Malka Leifer to Australia to face justice.”

The Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council calls on Israel’s Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman to step down following news that Israeli police have recommended he be indicted on charges of fraud and breach of trust for offences including use of his office to illicitly provide assistance to alleged sex offender Malka Leifer.

Leifer is a former principal of Adass Israel School in Melbourne currently under arrest in Israel who faces 74 charges of child sexual abuse in Australia.  Israel’s police announced in February that they were investigating Litzman on suspicion that he had pressured officials in his office to alter the conclusions of psychiatric evaluations that had found Leifer fit for extradition.

AIJAC welcomes this latest development and trusts it will lead to Leifer’s swift extradition back to Australia to face justice.

Peter Wertheim co-CEO of The Executive Council of Australian Jewry told J-Wire: “In accordance with the recommendation of the Israeli police, Minister Litzman should be charged with interfering in the course of justice in the Leifer extradition case by seeking to influence an expert witness.  In the meantime, he should stand down immediately as Deputy Health Minister, and from any other government positions which he holds. Political considerations must have no bearing whatsoever on this question. Justice must not only be done but also be seen to be done.

This is not a matter that concerns Israel exclusively. Ms Leifer’s accusers in Australia, the Australian government and citizens of Australia, especially the Jewish community, have a deep and direct interest in the case. We will not rest until Malka Leifer is extradited to Australia and put on trial.

We continue to stand with the survivors who have persevered these long years to bring Malka Leifer to justice. Their dignity in the face of delays in the extradition trial and allegations of impropriety by various officials are to their great credit.”

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