NINE years after three police statements were made in Victoria, a panel of psychiatrists has ruled alleged child sexual abuser Malka Leifer is fit to face extradition from Israel to Australia.
“We cannot believe this day has come,” alleged victim Dassi Erlich said.
“Incredible news! We knew this all along! Such a long wait! Justice has come!”
Leifer was first arrested in Israel in August 2014, but was ruled unfit to face extradition proceedings. A new panel of three psychiatrists was recently formed to give the Jerusalem District Court judge a new opinion on her mental health conditions.
The panel is due to hand over its report to the Jerusalem District Court today (Friday) and then it will officially be presented in court Tuesday, but an official with knowledge of the case told The Times of Israel that she has been assessed as fit to stand trial.
Child sexual abuse advocate Manny Waks said this is a monumental development in the case.
“It seem that finally justice will prevail,” he said.
“We will continue to do all that we can to ensure Leifer is put on a plane back to Australia as soon as possible so that she can stand trail for the 74 charges.”
President of the Zionist Federation of Australia Jeremy Leibler also welcomed the news.
“I look forward to this being made official on Tuesday, and for the extradition trial to begin soon after,” he said. “In the name of justice, Leifer needs to be extradited to Australia to stand trial here. Her alleged victims have waited too long already.”
Leifer is wanted in Australia on 74 charges in relation to child sexual abuse that she allegedly perpetrated while she was the principal of the Adass Israel school in Melbourne from 2000 to 2008.
She was arrested in Israel 2014 but a psychiatrist ruled she was unfit to face extradition proceedings.
That changed in 2018 when a private investigator worked on the case and Leifer was charged for fraud, obstruction of justice, and feigning mental illness.
In 2019, then Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman was accused of helping Leifer evade justice and Israeli police recommended indicting him on fraud and breach of trust for allegedly interfering in Leifer’s extradition.
When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was forced to step down from his ministerial roles late last year, against a chorus of outrage from Australian Jewish leaders, Litzman was appointed Health Minister.
Leifer’s lawyers Tal Gabbay and Yehuda Fried said in a joint statement that the conclusions of the psychiatric panel were “no surprise”.
Leifer’s lawyers are expected to cross examine the psychiatrists, but failing any unusual findings, Leifer is expected to face extradition proceedings later this year.