Leifer to be extradited to Australia

September 21, 2020 by J-Wire Newsdesk
Read on for article

Malka Leifer is to be extradited to Australia where she is facing 74 charges for alleged child sexual abuse.

Malka Leifer hears the decision

In a very brief hearing, the 71st in the long history of the case where she fought extradition after fleeing Melbourne as the authorities were ready to charge her for alleged offences against three sisters Dassi Erlich, Nicole Meyer and Elly Sapper when she was the principal at the city’s Adass Israel School.

Child sexual abuse advocate Manny Waks was in Jerusalem’s District Court when Judge Chana Lomp delivered her decision.

Dassi Erlich posted on Facebook on behalf of the sisters: ” MALKA LEIFER WILL BE EXTRADITED TO AUSTRALIA!!

(appeal is expected)

This is a victory for justice!
A victory not just for us, but for all survivors.
Exhaling years of holding our breath!
We truly value every single one of you standing with us in our refusal to remain silent.
Today our hearts are smiling!”

Nicole Meyer, Dassi Erlich and Elly Sapper with supporters Ted Baillieu and David Southwick

Waks said: “Leifer and the Adass Israel School hoped that they had avoided justice and that the horrific allegations against her would never be heard in an Australian court. And in facilitating her escape, not even they could have foreseen the extent to which certain ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities in Israel and around the world would go to protect an accused paedophile and how the failures of the Israeli justice system would help them in their quest for an alleged paedophile to avoid justice.

It has taken 71 court hearings to get to this point. It has been Israel’s shame. I have personally attended most of these hearings and experienced first hand how unfair the Israeli judicial process has been and the avoidable toll this has taken on Leifer’s alleged victims. It is important that we do not lose sight of that and get to the bottom of how this happened, including the role which the ultra-Orthodox community and their politicians may have had to play in this shameful situation so that it is never repeated.

Manny Waks and Nicole Meyer

But today is finally about a just outcome. Thanks to the incredible courage of three sisters – Nicole, Dassi and Elly – who have fought a fight for ten years which they should never have had to fight, we have a court order directing that Malka Leifer be extradited to Australia where she will face her accusers in a fair court process which will determine her guilt or innocence in respect of the horrific crimes with which she is charged.

While there may yet be a further appeal, we have now overcome the biggest hurdles and can look forward to Malka Leifer’s extradition. We hope and trust that any remaining processes will be dealt with quickly so that we may see Leifer back in Australia in 2020.

We know that there are many more alleged victims of Leifer and we encourage them to now come forward. If they need help, we are here for them. We know how difficult it is but you will be supported.

Today is a great day for justice. It is a day which at times seemed like it would never arrive, but we are thrilled that it is finally here.”

Zionist Federation of Australia President Jeremy Leibler said, “The Zionist Federation of Australia welcomes this long-overdue decision. Leifer ought to accept this decision without further needless appeals and face her accusers in an Australian court. It is well past time to bring Leifer home. The survivors deserve justice.

We commend the bravery of the survivors who have never wavered in their determination and commitment to bring Leifer back to Australia to face justice”.

Mr Leibler continued, “When I met with Prime Minister Netanyahu in October last year, he assured me that as soon as the court ordered Malka Leifer’s extradition, his government would do everything in its power to facilitate the extradition process, and certainly would not do anything to further delay the process. I look forward to the prime minister delivering on that assurance.”

Leifer’s alleged victims have been waiting for justice for many years. They have seen Leifer fake mental health issues, they have seen bizarre court decisions, and they have seen an alleged criminal interference by a member of the Israeli cabinet. Through all this, they have remained resolute on the need for Leifer to face court in Australia. The ZFA stands with these courageous women and looks forward to her finally boarding a plane to Australia.”

Josh Burns, Labor MP for Macnamara has been a very active supporter of the sisters. He told J-Wire: ”

‘Justice, justice, you shall pursue.’

For almost a decade, that is exactly what these three heroic Australian women, Dassi Erlich, Nicole Meyer and Elly Sapper, have been doing – to see their former principal Malka Leifer face justice and 74 counts of child sexual abuse in Victoria.

Their fight for her extradition has taken far too long but they have never relented.

They have never given up.

We have been standing behind them, proudly and defiantly. And finally, after 72 court hearings, an Israeli court has finally said the words they have been waiting to hear – Malka Leifer will be extradited to Victoria.

Justice has taken far too long. But finally, justice has won the day.

And while we await further appeals, we call on the Israeli judicial system to deal with them as quickly as possible and for the Justice Minister to give the extradition the final sign off without any further delays.”

Dave Sharma, Nicole Meyer, Dassi Erlich and Josh Burns Photo: Auspic

Dave Sharma, the Liberal MP for Wentworth worked closely with Josh Burns in supporting the sisters’ fight for justice.

A former Australian ambassador to Israel, Dave Sharma said: “This is a welcome victory for justice and the victims of abuse worldwide. After six long years and over seventy court hearings, Malka Leifer will finally have to face her accusers in an Australian court.

Israel’s Ministry of Justice deserves full credit for its relentless and unstinting pursuit of this case, despite many setbacks. I welcome the resolution of what had become a point of tension in Australia’s otherwise strong bilateral relationship with Israel.

To see this day come, after being the ambassador to first hand over the extradition request to Israel six years ago, is immensely satisfying. For me, this was unfinished business from my term. Dassi Erlich, Nicole Meyer and Elly Sapper deserve huge credit for their bravery and persistence. We would not have achieved this without them.”

Liberal MP for Caulfield David Southwick has been an active supporter for the three sisters said: This is the best Jewish New Year gift for survivors of sexual abuse and the Jewish community of Melbourne that have fought to have Leifer face justice.

Today’s decision brings to a close an excruciating period of delays and setbacks and finally sets a path to justice for Dassi, Elly, Nicole and all survivors of sexual abuse.

The courage and unrelenting pursuit of justice shown by these sisters has been rewarded and we look forward to Malka Leifer finally facing the outstanding charges against her.”

The Australia Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) is extremely pleased that the long and Herculean efforts to extradite Malka Leifer, a person accused of the most serious criminal offences, have finally succeeded.  It is hoped that the decision of the Israeli court to approve her extradition back to Melbourne to face charges for 74 counts of sexual abuse will usher in a year that delivers the justice that her alleged victims so richly deserve. While the verdict may still be open to appeal, AIJAC hopes and expects that any remaining procedural hurdles will quickly be resolved. AIJAC offers our thanks to everyone in the Israeli justice system who worked to bring about this final result and salutes the courage and tenacity of Leifer’s victims, especially Dassi Erlich, Nicole Meyer and Elly Sapper, who have struggled so tirelessly to see Leifer face justice for her alleged crime.

Alex Ryvchin, co-CEO of The Executive Council of Australian Jewry commented: “We warmly welcome this latest decision regarding Leifer’s extradition. However, given the obstacles and inconceivable delays that have emerged at every turn in this shameful story, the anguish of the victims and their brave struggle for justice may not be over.

We sincerely hope that for the sake of the victims and in the interests of justice, Leifer will now be extradited as soon as practicable to face her accusers in an Australian courtroom.”

In Israel, Rabbi David Stav, Chairman of Tzohar, who has met with the Ehrlich sisters and spoken out repeatedly on their behalf said, “Today’s decision is a critical step in addressing the impression that religious figures can never turn a blind eye to the pain of victims of sexual abuse. The efforts to keep Malka Leifer in Israel and away from an Australian court were nothing less than a desecration of God’s name and a stain on our country’s reputation for pursuing justice, so we can all hope she will now be held accountable for her alleged actions.”

Rabbi Yuval Cherlow, who as Director of the Tzohar Center for Jewish Ethics has also written extensively about the case said, “Israel must never become a refuge for sexual abusers. We need to always act in partnership with all other nations in ensuring that these criminals are being brought to justice. Anything less would be gross negligence and is a failure for our national responsibility to act morally and ethically.”

Speak Your Mind

Comments received without a full name will not be considered
Email addresses are NEVER published! All comments are moderated. J-Wire will publish considered comments by people who provide a real name and email address. Comments that are abusive, rude, defamatory or which contain offensive language will not be published


    Rules on posting comments