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Statement on police recommendation re Ya’acov Litzman

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.”