Litzman to be appointed health minister

Australian Jewish community angry at move.

United Torah Judaism leader Yaakov Litzman (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
United Torah Judaism leader Yaakov Litzman
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman is expected to be appointed to the position of full health minister on Sunday, after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu resigned from the role on Friday.
Netanyahu told the High Court of Justice earlier this month that he would resign from all of his ministerial roles before the end of the year, since the law prohibits an individual under indictment from serving as a minister, although it does not require a prime minister to resign.
Litzman’s expected appointment has generated anger in the Australian Jewish community because of police charges against him for allegedly threatening officials in the Health Ministry to assist alleged pedophile Malka Leifer, who is wanted in Australia on 74 counts of sexual abuse and rape.
Litzman, who is chairman of the United Torah Judaism Party, was full health minister from 2015 to 2017, but resigned in protest of state-sanctioned infrastructure construction and maintenance on Shabbat.
Netanyahu took on the position of health minister, while Litzman took back his old position of deputy minister, but remained in full charge of the ministry.
In August of this year, the police recommended that Litzman be indicted on charges of witness tampering, fraud and breach of trust in connection with the Leifer case.
Leifer has claimed to be mentally unfit for trial ever since extradition proceedings were initiated. According to the police charges, Litzman allegedly threatened officials in his ministry, warning them that if they did not write psychiatric opinions demonstrating that she was unfit for trial, they would be fired.
Litzman denies this charge and says he assisted Leifer as he has any other member of the public.
Before the end of December, Netanyahu will also have to resign from the other portfolios he has held, including Diaspora affairs, agriculture and welfare.
Deputy Foreign Minister and Likud MK Tzipi Hotovely is a possible candidate for Diaspora affairs minister, with sources telling The Jerusalem Post that she is in line for such a promotion.
Shas is also expected to pick up one of the spare ministerial positions, with party sources saying Meshulam Nahari is a likely candidate for welfare minister.
Likud MK Nir Barkat may be in line for the agriculture portfolio.