Rivlin briefed on Leifer extradition but no meeting as yet with alleged victims

February 21, 2020 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Ahead of President Rivlin’s visit to Australia, the Director-General of Beit HaNasi Harel Tubi wrote to Israel’s ambassador to Australia Mark Sofer telling him that the “president “takes the matter of Malka Leifer’s extradition very seriously”…but Dassi Erlich, Nicole Meyer and Elly Sapper have responded to the president.

President Reuven Rivlin

The letter notes  and that on the eve of his departure for Australia, the president received a comprehensive briefing from the relevant authorities on the case of Malka Leifer and was informed that the legal proceedings regarding her deportation are proceeding as planned.”

The director-general added that during his meetings in Australia, the president will give updates on the legal proceedings as conveyed to him by the relevant professional authorities at the Ministry of Justice and that “ the president has full confidence that the State of Israel does not allow those who have committed a crime to use the state and its institutions as a barrier to facing justice according to law.”

He also noted that those alleging criminal activity have met with Israeli Ministers of Justice and with the legal professionals dealing with the matter on behalf of the State of Israel, who have told Beit HaNasi that, ahead of the visit to Australia, their doors are always open to questions on the matter. In addition, he noted that “the president has instructed his team to continue to follow the issue with all appropriate sensitivity,” and he ended the letter with the hope that “the proceedings will come to an end at the earliest possible opportunity.”

But the three sister who are alleged victims of Leifer’s sexual abuse have written back:

 

Nicole Meyer and Dassi Erlich

Dear Mr President,

We are deeply dissapointed that you have chosen not to meet with us. This disappointment is only made worse by the fact that we have had to endure the added pain of a protracted extradition process that has exhibited very little assurances of transparency.

Behind the headlines of this case there are many victims that are constantly retruamatised by every delay. 12 years since Malka Leifer fled this country, 9 years since we gave our police statements, 63 court hearings and we still have not reached an extradition trial. 

We did not wish to ask you to interfere with the judicial process only that you use your authority to ensure this case ends in a timely manner.

Sadly, the president has underestimated the importance of this case to the Jewish and wider Australian community and the supportive encouragement that such a meeting would produce. 

We do hope you will reconsider this decision. 

Sincerely,

Dassi Erlich, Nicole Meyer and Elly Sapper

Although the letter from the president’s office does not state that the president will not meet the sisters, child sexual abuse advocate Manny Waks said: “The decision by President Rivlin not to meet with the three brave victims of Malka Leifer – sisters Nicole, Dassi and Elly – is bitterly disappointing. In recent years, the prolonged Leifer case has been the only source of tension between close allies Israel and Australia, and this trip was a unique and timely opportunity for President Rivlin to take some much-needed positive steps in addressing this ongoing injustice.

In my meeting with the President’s senior staff earlier this week, I emphasised the significance of such a meeting – this was a basic expectation of so many people in Australia, not least the girls themselves, who made numerous formal and informal requests to meet the President. Once again, the interests of the brave victims are being ignored by a leading Israeli institution; until now it has been the courts, this time the President’s Office

It’s most regrettable that President Rivlin found the time to meet with a range of other locals, and to participate in a range of activities, while he couldn’t find the time to meet with Nicole, Dassi and Elly. It seems President Rivlin has his priorities wrong on this trip.

I’d like to encourage the Australian Jewish community leadership who are slated to meet with President Rivlin to invite Nicole, Dassi and Elly to accompany them to the meeting. This will send a powerful message.

In the meantime, I hope that President Rivlin reconsiders his decision and will do the right thing and meet the courageous sisters – he has a unique opportunity to send a powerful public message of his own. Australia is waiting. Victims and survivors of child sexual abuse are waiting. Mr President, please do the right thing.”

 

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