Litzman steps down, but says he’ll stay in politics

Carrie Keller-Lynn is a former political and legal correspondent for The Times of Israel

Shortly after handing in his resignation, soon-to-be-former MK Yaakov Litzman says he won’t be far from the halls of power, during his final speech on the Knesset floor.

“I will stay in politics,” the 23-year veteran of the Knesset says. “I am staying for a few things in which I can help,” he adds, without elaborating.

Litzman, 73, expresses his disappointment that his resignation — linked to an upcoming hearing on his plea deal to settle graft charges related to the Malka Leifer case, which requires him to step down — precludes his ability to vote for the current Knesset’s dispersal.

MK Yaakov Litzman seen at the Israeli parliament during a plenum session in the assembly hall of the Israeli parliament, in Jerusalem, on June 1, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

“This Knesset is not what’s supposed to be and you all know this,” he says, expressing hope for change.

The current government has worked to pass measures against and slash funding for issues close to the Haredi community and is currently working on a budget expected to cut off ultra-Orthodox access to the coalition’s discretionary funding pot.

Holding the reins of his United Torah Judaism party for 18 years before turning control over to MK Moshe Gafni last year, the Haredi leader served in a number of ministerial and committee head positions.

Closing his remarks, Litzman recalls an undated vote on funding for yeshivas during which he could have used his influence to “have gotten anything,” but rather decided to split the pot with others.

Litzman says that “this Prime Minister [Naftali Bennett] and Interior Minister [Ayelet Shaked] need to put very well into their heads how I behaved then and how they’re behaving today.”

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