An Israeli court has finally admitted that Malka Leifer, the alleged paedophile who fled to Israel to hide from justice, IS fit to stand trial !
The Israeli court has ruled that the alleged child sex abuser Malka Leifer is mentally fit to stand trial and can be extradited to Australia, where the former Melbourne headteacher is wanted on 74 sexual assault charges.
This pivotal ruling comes six years after Australian police first filed an extradition request, and follows dozens of hearings and setbacks in a dramatic court saga in Jerusalem that has deeply strained relations between Israel and Australia.
“I decided to accept the expert panel’s opinion; she’s fit to stand trial,” Judge Chana Miriam Lomp said of a psychiatric board recommendation from January that accused Leifer of faking mental illness to avoid extradition.
Dassi Erlich, one of three Australian sisters who have accused Leifer of abuse during her time as principal of a Jewish ultra-Orthodox school, said that she had “too many emotions to process”.
In case you don’t remember Malka Leifer, she is the former principal of the Ultra-Orthodox Jewish school Adass Israel School located near the heart of Melbourne city. She fled the country with the aide of the community after it was revealed she was about to be arrested on 74 counts of child abuse of children in her care.
She allegedly raped 3 girls, sisters Nicole Meyer, Dassi Erlich and Elly Sapper who bravely spoke out against Miss Leifer who is quite well respected (sadly to this day) amongst the Ultra-Orthodox Jewish community of Melbourne.
Well done girls, the world needs more like you willing to go against the grain to do what is right !
After the charges were revealed Ms Leifer fled to Israel where she believed she would be safe due to the state’s tough extradition laws. Fortunately for us they do not allow alleged child rapists sanctuary.
Leifer was absent from the district court on Tuesday, although three of her family members were present. Before she can be extradited, a hearing will be held on 20 July. Yehuda Fried, a lawyer representing Leifer, who has denied the charges, said he hoped to appeal to the high court to overturn the decision.
Manny Waks, the founder of Kol V’Oz, an Israel-based organisation against child sexual abuse in the global Jewish community, said outside court that he had expected the defence to appeal, although he added the ruling was “an absolutely momentous occasion”.
“Malka Leifer has been faking her illness for years and it is because of this dogged pursuit for justice by her three courageous alleged victims that we are here today,” he said of the Erlich sisters.
“It is absolutely incredible that it’s taken so many years to get to where we are today, and finally we are here,” he added. “Sure, Malka Leifer is not yet on the plane, and there is some way to go. But what we can see now is that she is fit to face justice.”
The ruling was widely praised by officials in both countries, including the Israeli ambassador to Australia, Mark Sofer, who described it as “truly wonderful”.
Josh Burns, Federal Member of Parliament for Macnamara, the Australian district in the state of Victoria where the alleged abuse occurred, said: “We will all keep fighting until Leifer is in a Victorian courtroom facing justice.”
If extradited, Leifer is expected to face charges including indecent assault and rape. She returned to Israel in 2008 after the sexual offence allegations emerged, and the ensuing court case has been bogged down by mental illness claims.
However, after being released, Israeli police rearrested Leifer in 2018 on suspicion of obstruction of justice. Videos taken by a private investigator and shared with the Guardian appeared to show her living a “normal, healthy” life.
Suggestions of foul play have also beset the case. Israel’s former health minister, Ya’acov Litzman, who leads an ultra-Orthodox party, was accused of pressuring doctors to falsify psychiatric evaluations that would deem Leifer unfit to face trial. Police have recommended charging Litzman with fraud and breach of trust. Litzman, who is housing minister in the new government, has denied any wrongdoing.
This is a BIG win for survivors Australia wide, the fact that Ms Leifer was whisked away during the night (literally) so she could dodge justice was a slap in the face to survivors everywhere. She literally told some of her victims that they would never see her again as she would never return to Australia. If this isn’t taunting her victims I don’t know what is !
Well now the mask has finally fallen off for Ms Leifer and her lies are bringing her undone. The Israelis are seeing her for the liar that her victims Nicole, Dassi and Elly already know her as !
Child rapists do not deserve to be whisked away in the middle of the night ! If they are innocent then face the system and clear your name ! If you have done nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear !
Of course Malka has not been found guilty of the crimes she is accused of, however now she will face the charges in a court of law.
We will echo Scott Morrison’s words at the National apology to survivors of institutional child abuse. To the brave survivors of child abuse (in this case the 3 sisters) we say we are sorry. Sorry that you were not protected, sorry that you were not listened to. We are sorry for refusing to trust the words of children, for not believing you.
FACAA would like to acknowledge the work of Manny Waks, and his group Kol V’Oz in helping to achieve justice for the sisters.