MALKA Leifer is one step closer to extradition after the alleged sexual abuser had her appeal against a May ruling that she is mentally fit to be sent back to Australia quashed by Israel’s Supreme Court last week.
The decision means alleged victims Dassi Erlich, Nicole Meyer and Elly Sapper must now wait until September 21 for a judgement on whether their former principal will be extradited to face 74 charges of child sexual abuse.
Reacting to the news, Erlich said she and her sisters were “exhilarated” that an end was in sight.
“During this tumultuous journey there were moments that this did not seem possible!” she tweeted.
A panel of three Supreme Court justices unanimously rejected Leifer’s appeal, saying none of the arguments presented by her lawyers point to her being mentally unfit to stand trial and be extradited.
The head of the panel, Justice Yitzhak Amit, rejected the claim that Leifer enters a “psychotic state” before each hearing and therefore her mental state fluctuates with the legal proceedings. He cited six psychiatrists determining that she is feigning mental illness.
The judges also pointed out that before fleeing to Israel, Leifer taught at and then ran the Adass Israel ultra-Orthodox all-girls high school – jobs that someone with severe mental illness would not have been able to hold.
Zionist Federation of Australia president Jeremy Leibler said, “Video and other evidence made it obvious that Leifer was faking mental incapacity. This unanimous rejection of her appeal by the Supreme Court helps restore faith in a system that allowed Leifer’s alleged victims to wait for so long.”
Federal Liberal MP Dave Sharma told Parliament last week, “I cannot overstate what a victory this is. It’s a victory for justice, it’s a victory for the victims of child sexual abuse everywhere and it’s a victory for those brave victims who have been so courageous in leading this campaign: Dassi Erlich, Nicole Meyer and Elly Sapper.”
Federal Labor MP Josh Burns added, “One big step closer to justice. It’s time for this roller coaster to end.”
If Jerusalem District Court Judge Chana Miriam Lomp approves Leifer’s extradition on September 21, Justice Minister Avi Nissenkorn will have to sign off on the order. However, both the court decision and Nissenkorn’s stamp of approval can be appealed to the Supreme Court as well.