Haredi Lawmaker Litzman to Quit Knesset Before Plea Deal Hearing

By quitting Israel's parliament, Litzman, who admitted to breach of trust in Malka Leifer's sex crime case, will evade the court’s ruling on whether his conduct constitutes moral turpitude

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Yaakov Litzman in 2021.
Yaakov Litzman in 2021. Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg

MK Yaakov Litzman (United Torah Judaism) is expected to retire from the Knesset before the court hearing on the plea deal he signed in January, Haaretz has learned.

By quitting the Knesset, Litzman will evade the court’s ruling on whether his conduct constitutes moral turpitude. The court will only rule on the turpitude issue if Litzman is still a lawmaker.

Two months ago, Litzman signed a lenient plea deal with former Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit and the Jerusalem Prosecutor’s Office. Under the deal, he confessed to committing breach of trust in the Malka Leifer case, was charged a fine of only some 3,000 shekels, and given a suspended sentence.

Leifer was accused of sex crimes against minors and like him is a member of the Gur Hasidic sect.

The deal also stipulates closing the investigation into Litzman’s alleged attempt to persuade Health Ministry officials not to close down a delicatessen near his home. The deal is subject to the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court’s approval, but so far no date has been set for a hearing on it.

By leaving the Knesset, Litzman will be following in the footsteps of Shas Chairman Arye Dery, who was convicted of tax offenses as part of a plea deal in January.

Litzman said in December that he would not run for the Knesset again. However, UTJ sources said he does not plan to quit political activity and, like Dery, plans to attend his party’s Knesset meetings and run it from the backseat.

If Litzman decides to run for the next Knesset, the attorney general will have to decide how to deal with the turpitude question.

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