Jerusalem – A high ranking Israeli official once again finds himself in the hot seat after being accused of using his influence to obtain privileges for imprisoned sex offenders, an unknown number of which hail from the Charedi community.
The Times of Israel (http://bit.ly/2VrRPND) cited a Channel 13 report that charged Deputy Health Minister MK Yaakov Litzman with advocating for convicted pedophiles and rapists, allegedly pressuring psychiatrists and others to allow home visits and additional perks on behalf of at least ten inmates. As previously reported on VIN News (http://bit.ly/2Vw8wHC) Litzman has been questioned about possible wrongdoings after intervening in the extradition of Malka Leifer who faces 74 charges of child sexual abuse in Australia.
Litzman denied any wrongdoing months ago, but one Ministry of Justice official has said that he has recordings of Litzman intervening on Leifer’s behalf.
Israeli police are reportedly looking into several cases, including one that had former Litzman aide Yaakov Tesler allegedly urging prison officials to award home visits to a convicted murderer and rapist currently serving a 14 ½ year sentence. Tesler, a member of the United Torah Judaism party who was elected to the Knesset earlier this year, said that he did nothing wrong.
“Any appeal I receive from a person asking for help, I don’t ask, are they a sex offender or not a sex offender,” said Tesler. “Every request I receive, regardless of who it is, I take care of it.”
The report says that Litzman has displayed a pattern of asking for leniency for ultra-Orthodox prisoners. Several psychiatrists have reportedly given statements to the police saying that they have been pressured by Litzman and his staff which has led to escalating tensions between the Israel Prison Service and the Ministry of Health.
An earlier police investigation opened in March is exploring allegations that Litzman and his staff forced psychiatrist Moshe Birger to have a sex offender from the Gerrer community transferred into a rehabilitation program, a move that could ultimately win him home visitation privileges as well as an early release from jail.
Litzman categorized Birger’s statements as “lies and slander that never happened.”