VICTORIAN Premier Daniel Andrews has pleaded with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to extradite alleged child sexual abuser Malka Leifer to Australia.
In a letter to Netanyahu, Andrews said a decision earlier this week to release Leifer on house arrest “defies explanation”, and said Leifer must be brought to Australia to face 74 counts of child sexual abuse from her time as the principal of the Adass Israel girls’ school in Melbourne.
“I am hopeful that in writing to you, the Israeli justice system can move quickly to right this wrong,” Andrews wrote.
“Victims and their families deserve nothing less.”
The AJN has also learned that Andrews raised the issue with director general of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Yuval Rotem, a former Israeli ambassador to Australia.
In their eyes, the case has gone on for far too long and nothing short of full justice can be acceptable. Uppermost in their minds is the immediate extradition of Malka Leifer to Australia to stand trial.
— Mark Sofer (@MarkSofer) October 3, 2019
Andrews’ plea comes after Israel’s Supreme Court ruled on Friday (Australian time) that Leifer will stay behind bars until a decision on her bail was reached, following an appeal.
Judge Anat Baron didn’t reverse the bail ruling, but did say that she needed more time to decide.
Leifer’s lawyers gave impassioned arguments in favour of Wednesday’s decision to move her to house arrest.
Attorney Yehuda Fried told The AJN earlier this week that he doesn’t only reject the state’s appeal against the bail, but believes that Leifer should live freely without house arrest.
State prosecutors are arguing that Leifer must stay in prison for range of reasons, including flight risk.
Soon after the end of the Supreme Court session, victims’ advocate Manny Waks told The AJN: “Today we saw a respectful hearing where the judge took the case seriously — not the circus we have seen sometimes in this case.”
He said that after sitting through the hour-long appeal he is “cautiously optimistic”.
Waks said: “I think now that Leifer will be incarcerated until the end of the extradition proceedings.”
Judge Baron is expected to present her decision over the next few days.