Yaakov Litzman

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Yaakov Litzman
Date of birth (1948-09-02) 2 September 1948 (age 70)
Place of birthGermany
Year of aliyah1965
Knessets15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20
Faction represented in Knesset
1999–2005United Torah Judaism
2005–2006Agudat Yisrael
2006–2008United Torah Judaism
2008–2009Agudat Yisrael
2009–United Torah Judaism
Ministerial roles
2015–2017Minister of Health

Yaakov Litzman (Hebrew: יעקב ליצמן‬, born 2 September 1948) is an Israeli politician and Deputy Government Minister. A follower of the Ger Hasidic dynasty, he heads Agudat Yisrael, part of the United Torah Judaism alliance, in the Knesset, and serves as Deputy Minister of Health.


Litzman was born in 1948 to Polish survivors of the Holocaust, in a displaced persons camp in Germany. When he was two years old, the family immigrated to the East New York section of Brooklyn, and then to the Borough Park section of Brooklyn, where he grew up. In 1966, at age 17, he immigrated to Israel, and continued his Torah studies. His first job was as principal of the Hasidic Beis Yaakov girls' school in Jerusalem.

He later became active in politics under the guidance of the then-Gerrer Rebbe, Rabbi Simcha Binem Alter. Over time, he became known as the rebbe's right-hand man, a role he continues under the present Gerrer Rebbe, Rabbi Yaakov Arye Alter. In 1999, the present rebbe asked Litzman to join the Agudat Yisrael faction of the United Torah Judaism list for the Knesset elections that year. He was subsequently elected, and became Chairman of the Finance Committee. He headed the UTJ list for the 2003 elections,[1] and was re-elected, again becoming the Chair of the Finance Committee. He has since served as the leader of the UTJ and Agudat Yisrael faction in the Knesset, in which he consults the Gerrer Rebbe on a daily basis.

Litzman was re-elected again in 2006, retaining his chairmanship of the Finance Committee, and for a fourth time in 2009, after which UTJ joined the new government, in which Litzman was appointed Deputy Minister of Health. After Litzman was re-elected in 2013, UTJ were excluded from the coalition government. However, following the 2015 elections, he was re-appointed Deputy Minister of Health. He was appointed on August 27, 2015, Minister of Health after a court challenge filed by Yesh Atid.[2]

Litzman served on the Knesset's Internal Affairs Committee from 1999–2001,[3] and as the Deputy Chairman of Knesset Labor and Welfare Committee.[4] As part of the coalition agreement with the ruling government of Ariel Sharon in 2001, Litzman was appointed chairman of the Knesset Finance Committee, a position he held until 2003, and again from 2005 to 2007.

Litzman is married, has five children, and lives in Jerusalem. He is quoted as saying that, "in some respects, I envy the low profile the Haredi community in the United States has been able to retain by staying out of politics". He also said that, in Israel, the media attention makes for misrepresentation and misunderstanding of the Haredi community.[5]

Litzman is currently under scrutiny for his involvement in controversy over smoking regulation.[6]

He resigned as Health minister on 26 November 2017 in protest of railroad repair work happening on the Sabbath.[7][8]

Statement on LGBT Rights[edit]

During a February 2016 discussion in the Knesset about Israeli health authorities becoming more sensitive towards LGBT people, Litzman compared the LGBT community to the "sinners" who danced around the Golden Calf.[9][10]


  1. ^ UTJ list Israel Democracy Institute
  2. ^ http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4695331,00.html
  3. ^ News 2001
  4. ^ News 2000
  5. ^ Popper, Nathaniel (2005-01-28). "Brooklyn-bred Hasid Takes Position of Power in Israel". Forward, the Jewish Daily. Archived from the original on 26 September 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-17.
  6. ^ "איך השר ליצמן מקל על חברות הטבק?". mako. 2017-01-11. Retrieved 2017-01-23.
  7. ^ "Israeli minister resigns over Sabbath dispute". BBC News. 2017-11-26. Retrieved 2017-11-26.
  8. ^ "Sabbath Railway Work in Israel May Unravel Netanyahu's Coalition". New York Times. 2017-11-26. Retrieved 2017-11-26.
  9. ^ ""LGBT People Know That They're Sinners" – AWiderBridge". awiderbridge.org. Retrieved 2017-11-26.
  10. ^ "Knesset votes down LGBT rights bills, Litzman likens gays to sinners". The Jerusalem Post | JPost.com. Retrieved 2017-11-26.

External links[edit]