Police recommend indicting Litzman for allegedly aiding Leifer

Malka Leifer is escorted by police as she arrives for a hearing at the District Court in Jerusalem, Feb. 27, 2018. (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP/Getty Images)

ISRAELI police on Tuesday recommended indicting Deputy Health Minister and United Torah Judaism leader Yaakov Litzman on fraud and breach of trust for allegedly interfering in the extradition of alleged pedophile Malka Leifer.

Police said that they found sufficient evidence to charge Litzman with trying to influence the opinion of psychiatrists appointed by the Ministry of Health in order to aid Leifer and prevent her extradition to Australia where she is wanted for dozens of cases of sexual abuse that she committed while serving as a head of school in Melbourne.

Yaakov Litzman. Photo: Marc Israel Sellem/Jerusalem Post

Police said that Litzman, a Gur hassid, attempted to pressure the Jerusalem district psychiatrist into falsely stating that Leifer was mentally unfit to be extradited to Australia to stand trial. Litzman’s meeting with the key witness in the extradition case could constitute obstruction of justice, according to reports.

He also is accused of threatening other medical professionals at the ministry if they did not write reports in a way favourable to Leifer. Leifer fled to Israel in 2008 amid allegations that she had sexually abused students at the Adass Israel School in Melbourne.

She is wanted on 74 charges of child sexual abuse in that city. She was arrested in Israel in 2014 and then released after being deemed mentally unfit for the legal proceedings. She was rearrested last year after an undercover investigation found that she lived a normal life and was mentally fit to face extradition proceedings.

The second case investigated by police was about Litzman’s alleged involvement in trying to influence officials in the ministry to work on behalf of a food company whose owner is close to the haredi politician. Litzman allegedly tried to prevent the closure of the company which had been found to pose a health hazard to the public and caused several people to be sick after consuming its products.

The police said that the investigation found sufficient evidence against Litzman to charge him with fraud, obstruction of justice and breach of trust.