Claims against ministers rock Netanyahu campaign

Yaakov Litzman. Photo: Marc Israel Sellem/Jerusalem Post

THE Malka Leifer case was catapulted to the heart of Israel’s election debate this week, as opposition politicians claimed that the new scandal shows that the Netanyahu government is rotten.

Police this week concluded that there is enough evidence to charge Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman with corruption in relation to the Leifer case and two other matters. This made Litzman the fourth Netanyahu ally to have been recommended for corruption charges. 

“Israeli citizens should ask themselves if they want a Prime Minister and ministers who take care of themselves and their associates,” said Blue and White’s Yael German, a former health minister. “Do they want politicians who promote immunity from indictments or a Blue and White government that will work for the public?”

The Litzman recommendation comes as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is widely expected to be indicted for three corruption cases. Making matters worse for Netanyahu, a cloud hangs over his ally Arye Deri, Interior Minister and leader of the Shas party. Police are recommending that Deri, an ex-con who was implicated in a corruption scandal in 1999 and served two years in prison, be indicted for fraud and breach of trust. Police have also recommended the indictment of Likud’s Haim Katz and David Bitan.

Yoav Segalovitz, policeman turned politician, said, “From the grave suspicions against Deputy Minister Litzman, the motives can be understood. Nothing was done ‘for the sake of heaven’.”

Segalovitz, who used to head investigations at Israel Police and now represents the Blue and White party, said: “Everything is personal, everything is sectoral. Even if the suspicions don’t cross the criminal threshold, this is a serious problem regarding values.”

Israeli-Australian child abuse survivor and activist Manny Waks, CEO of Kol V’Oz, called for Litzman “to immediately resign from all his leadership positions, in particular from his role as Deputy Health Minister, until the conclusion of any proceedings against him”.

NATHAN JEFFAY