Yakov Litzman. Ultra-Orthodox lifestyle
Yakov Litzman leaves children's safety event over performance by elementary school girls
Did Deputy Health Minister Yakov Litzman leave an event over a performance of a girls choir? Sources who attended a conference for children's safety said that Litzman left the hall when a choir of girls ages 8-12 took to the stage, Yedioth Ahronoth reported Thursday. The deputy minister's office is claiming he stepped out to handle a crisis involving nurses at the Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba.
The first national conference for Children's Safety and Health was launched in Jerusalem on Wednesday with a performance by elementary school children. "I have a phone call and I'm stepping out," the deputy health minister told those next to him. He returned to his seat only after the girls had finished singing. Litzman then made a speech and then left the conference on schedule.
He initially explained his stepping out of the hall by saying his ultra-Orthodox lifestyle forbids him to attend such a performance. "I have a private lifestyle, I did not disrupt the event and I respected it as much as I could," he said. Later, members of his staff said he had left to take a phone call and handle the nurse crisis.
Two months ago it was reported that during a Health Ministry ceremony two female award recipients were not allowed to accept their awards on stage. Last month, during a children's wing inauguration ceremony at the Kaplan Medical Center in Rehovot, the deputy health minister left the hall in protest after a group of girls ages 12-16 started singing.
Litzman's bureau said in response, "The deputy health minister does not make a habit of attending events which include women's singing in keeping with his lifestyle and religious view.
"This does not warrant an apology and one must show understanding for a person who follows his beliefs. The deputy health minister does not interfere with the contents of the events to which he is invited. As for this specific case, he left the room to handle the nurse issue."