Civil Service Commission considers probe of Health Minister

Health minister Ya'acov Litzman in hot seat in wake of undercover news report indicating possible irregularities over e-cigarettes

By
January 17, 2017 23:27
1 minute read.
Ya’acov Litzman

Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman . (photo credit: Courtesy)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

The Civil Service Commission has asked the head of the police investigative unit, Mani Yitzhaki, to provide it with information as to whether the police intend to open an investigation into the various subjects of a Channel 2 report on the Health Ministry and Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman.

The piece showed undercover reporters claiming to be representatives from an e-cigarette company paying for meetings with senior ministry officials, as well as with Litzman himself. Channel 2 also reported that the minister has met with representatives from tobacco company Philip Morris International in breach of the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, to which Israel is signatory.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


The letter was sent to allow the commission to consider whether or not to open its own disciplinary investigation into activities of civil service employees involved in Channel 2’s investigative report. If the police do not open an investigation, the commission says it will likely conduct its own inquiry.

In the letter, the head of the commission’s disciplinary department wrote that “links have apparently been exposed between the minister and tobacco companies,” business publication TheMarker reported. Potentially criminal acts of the go-between from Hamodia newspaper, who arranged the meetings with Litzman in return for cash payments, were also exposed.

The commission would, in particular, be examining the involvement of Health Ministry deputy director Prof. Itamar Gruto and Litzman’s personal assistant, Moti Babchik.

In 2015, Litzman opposed bills that would prohibit tobacco advertising in newspapers and require packages to bear graphic warnings.

Last week, the Association for Advanced Democracy called on Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit to investigate Litzman and his connections to Hamodia.



The association, an independent nonprofit body, maintained that Litzman had given instructions to his underlings, including public health professionals, not to take action to reduce smoking by legislation or other measures.

Amos Hausner, chairman of the Israel Council for the Prevention of Smoking, said Litzman turned down every suggestion he made to curtail smoking, including prohibiting smoking rooms and requiring graphic images of the bodily damage inflicted by cigarettes to be placed on packaging.

Judy Siegel contributed to this report.

Related Content

Lana Del Rey at the 60th Annual Grammy Awards New York, U.S., (January 28, 2018).
August 16, 2018
Lana del Rey appearing in Israel

By AMY SPIRO