Leifer escapes extradition

June 3, 2016 by Henry Benjamin
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A psychiatric report has found wanted fugitive Malka Leifer is not mentally fit to face an Israeli court to face proceedings to extradite her to Australia.

Malka Leifer

Malka Leifer

Leifer is facing prosecution in Melbourne for 74 alleged sexual abuse offences committed when she was employed as the principal of the Adass Yisroel School. Leifer had been brought to Melbourne from Israel to fill the position. She fled to Israel in 2008  ahead of allegations.

In Jerusalem’s District Court Judge Amnon Cohen directed that Leifer must attend regular clinical psychiatric treatment without hospitalisation.

Leifer has been banned from leaving Israel and must undergo five treatments  over the next six months after which a further psychiatric report will be submitted to the court. She will undergo the first treatment next week.

This process will be repeated until Leifer is deemed fit to face the court. The process has been given a ten-year period to perform the assessments.

The Prosecution has been granted 72 hours to appeal the lifting of her house arrest restrictions.

Child sexual abuse advocacy group Tzedek’s co-founder Manny Waks said: “Frankly, this is a very poor outcome – both for her many alleged victims and for the children in Israel. There is no justice for the former, and no safety for the latter. In fact, there is nothing stopping Leifer from resuming her teaching in private schools. It’s a poor indictment of the Israeli judicial system. She’s either unwell and requires ongoing inpatient treatment or she must face justice immediately.”

Waks lived in Melbourne where he co-founded Tzedek but now lives in Israel.

Her alleged victims are hurting. My thoughts are very much with them.”

Some of Leifer’s alleged victims currently live in Israel. Waks added: “They feel outraged, devastated and completely let down by Israel’s legal system. They are also fearful of bumping into her on the street.”

Waks told J-Wire that he understands that Israeli authorities had  “apparently rejected Australia’s offer to assess Leifer”.

Tzedek said they were  “astounded at the Israeli court ruling not to extradite Malka Leifer to face sexual abuse charges in Australia.

As an advocacy service for survivors of child sexual abuse, we are deeply concerned at the impact of this decision both in Israel and in Australia.

Given the serious nature of the charges, it is difficult to understand the court’s ruling.

Tzedek is also deeply concerned about the impact of this decision on survivors in Australia. Survivors were awaiting the court process in order to seek justice. This is a crucial part of the healing process – to see justice done.

It is important to send a public message to the survivors in Australia that they are believed and supported by the community. They need to be validated at this time.”

Leifer has failed to appear in court ten times.


2 Responses to “Leifer escapes extradition”
  1. Liat Kirby-Nagar says:

    Leifer appears to have been given a lot of room to move over a long period of time by the courts in Israel. I have respect for the Israeli Court system in the main – it has shown time and again autonomy in judgements. However, this situation with Malka Leifer has dragged on for such a long time and has now come to this very unsatisfactory end.

    If murder had been committed, and the person alleged to have committed it appeared mentally unwell, not able to face the courts, is there then no court appearance, no judgement …? I think not.

    I think it fair enough for Manny Waks to have made the comments he did. It is an astounding decision and it does affect victims very badly indeed – just leaves them hanging there indefinitely. They are bound to feel let down by the Israeli justice system. We cannot start silencing our honest responses to possible injustices done because those such as Rhiannon might use it against us. That weakens us and empowers those who would intimidate us with their words and actions. Israel is strong enough to be able to admit mistakes, and we must be also.

    Perhaps the sticking point for the Israeli judiciary is the extradition – extraditing a Jewish person from the State? Has this been done before? Perhaps they are loath to do it. Let us, please, think of the alleged situation and circumstances of Leifer’s time in Australia and her hurried and assisted departure to Israel. Of those in Australia who knew and assisted. All of this needs to be addressed properly and adequately.

  2. David Singer says:

    I can imagine there wiil be great disappointment with this decision but Manny does his justifiable cause no good when he claims “it’s a poor indictment of the Israeli judicial system”

    Israel’s judicial system ranks among the world’s best.

    This decision is open to appeal and no doubt will be appealed if those seeking Leifer’s extradition think they have a reasonable chance of reversing the decision.

    Judges make mistakes in all legal systems around the world that are overturned on appeal.

    Manny’s statement will no doubt be taken out of context and eagerly seized on by those who will do anything to denigrate and delegitimise Israel.

    We will probably see it appearing in Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon’s next poster.

    To say we are our own worst enemies is an understatement.

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