Election season in Israel usually involves two things- mudslinging campaigns and indictments of right-wing politicians. Their latest victim appears to be United Torah Judaism (UTJ) leader Rabbi Ya’acov Litzman

Police recommended indicting Deputy Health Minister Litzman for fraud and breach of trust on Tuesday. The indictment stems from suspicion of intervening in the expert medical opinion that  Malka Leifer, who faces 74 counts of sexual assault and rape of her students in 2016.

When that happened, Litzman allegedly tried to use his influence as the Health Minister to force the professional opinions of his subordinates by using his position as deputy health minister to prevent Leifer’s extradition to Australia, where she can be charged with 74 incidents of sexual assault.

The other focus of the investigation revolves around Litzman’s alleged improper intervention on behalf of a Jerusalem restaurant, Goldy’s Beit Yisrael, which is owned by his associate. Litzman tried to prevent the eatery from being shut down by his own health ministry for sanitation violations that police say made several people who ate the restaurant’s food sick.

Litzman is suspected of offering benefits to Health Ministry employees in exchange for their keeping the restaurant open.

One thing that’s important to note is that the allegations against the Deputy Health Minister, no matter how unethical they may seem, come right in the middle of Israel’s election season despite the fact that the alleged crime was carried out in early 2018.

Litzman is just another name on a long list of police indictments against right-wing politicians leading up to elections. Here are a few others:

  • During 2013 elections, Yisrael Beitenu head Avigdor Liberman was indicted by the Israeli police for fraud and breach of trust
  • During Israel’s first round of 2019 elections, Netanyahu was recommended to be indicted on corruption charges
  • On Monday, police recommended indicting Gal Hirsch, following a four-year investigation. He was indicted less than a week after he joined Netanyahu’s party.

“It’s obvious that the deep-state within the Israeli police are trying to influence the outcome of the elections” explains political analyst Avi Levinger.  In this particular case, Liberman, who used to also be a favored target of the deep-state, is now a made man. He made a deal with the deep-state to bring down Netanyahu”.

And although none of Litzman’s Haredi (ultra-orthodox) supporters will be deterred by police indictments, it might not be about Litzman at all. That’s because the image in the media of corrupt Haredi leadership can boost Liberman’s campaign.

That’s because Liberman is running an almost exclusively anti-Haredi campaign. He is trying to recruit secular but right-wing voters. If Liberman can portray the Haredi leadership as a corrupt enemy of the people, it should give him a big boost among his potential supporters.



Source: Israel in the News