Yaakov Litzman
Yaakov Litzman Yisrael Bardugo

Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman spoke on Sunday evening of the investigation against him on suspicion he aided an alleged sex abuser who fled Australia to Israel to avoid extradition.

"My case is only a public inquiry, about people I do not know and whom I never knew. I didn’t even know what it was about, and I helped,” said Litzman at a conference of the Agudat Yisrael party.

"I tried to help without going into all the details. That’s Agudat Yisrael. I can tell you that when they asked me if I knew the people, I told them I didn’t. They asked if they were Gur Hasidim? I told them no. So they wondered why I had helped.”

"I told them that 80 percent of the appeals that come to me are from people I do not know, and that's the truth. That’s Agudat Yisrael. We have to continue this and try to help everyone. I think and hope that my door is open to everyone. My team is strong and helps everyone," said the Deputy Health Minister.

Police revealed last Thursday that the Lahav 433 anti-corruption unit had questioned Litzman, amid suspicions he used his position to help Malka Leifer, a former educator from a haredi school in Australia, avoid extradition.

Litzman is suspected of using his influence in the health ministry to secure a psychiatric assessment of Leifer which would find her unfit, and thus prevent her extradition.

Leifer, fled Australia in 2008, after she was accused of sexually abusing students at the Adass Isroel school, where she served as headmistress. Authorities in Melbourne, Australia charged Leifer with 74 counts of abuse relating to incidents from 2003 to 2008.

While Leifer was taken into custody in Israel in 2014, she was later found mentally unfit for extradition.