‘Today we are one step closer to justice’
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Extradition reactions

‘Today we are one step closer to justice’

Communal leaders and politicians have reacted to the extradition of former Adass Israel principal Malka Leifer to Australia.

Malka Leifer is escorted by police as she arrives for a hearing at the District Court in Jerusalem, Feb. 27, 2018. Photo: Ahmad Gharabli/AFP/Getty Images
Malka Leifer is escorted by police as she arrives for a hearing at the District Court in Jerusalem, Feb. 27, 2018. Photo: Ahmad Gharabli/AFP/Getty Images

“This is a moment that has taken far too long and at times, that we didn’t think would happen. But nearly 13 years after she fled Australia, Malka Leifer will finally face justice in a Victorian courtroom. Justice isn’t always easy but it is always worth fighting for. And that’s exactly what Dassi, Nicole and Elly did. They are truly remarkable Australians.”
Josh Burns, Federal Member for Macnamara (Labor)

“After seven years and 74 court hearings, today we are one step closer to justice with Malka Leifer departing Israel for Australia, where she will face our courts. A day that many feared would never come is here, and for that the victims and advocates in this case deserve our deepest gratitude and respect. As the ambassador at the time who handed over the extradition request, in 2014, for me personally this is the conclusion of unfinished business from my time in Israel, and deeply satisfying as a result.”
Dave Sharma, Federal Member for Wentworth (Liberal)

“The return of Malka Leifer to Victoria is a significant and long overdue step towards justice and credit to Dassi, Nicole, Elly and others who have fought so hard to make this day a reality.”
David Southwick, State Member for Caulfield (Liberal)

“I admit that years ago, as Head of Asia-Pacific at Israel’s FM, and later as Ambassador to Canberra, I was skeptical [sic] that Leifer would be extradited. But I was then unaware of the heroism and tenacity of Dassi, Ellie [sic] and Nicole. I’ve never been happier to be so wrong.”
Mark Sofer, Israel’s former Ambassador to Australia.

“The legal process was long and there were those who tried to pollute it. As Minister of Justice, I promised not to delay the extradition order, and I did. Malka Leifer’s [alleged] victims will finally get justice done.”
Avi Nissenkorn, Israel’s former Minister of Justice.

“Adass Israel fully supports the legal process in place and will do all that is requested by the authorities to assist in the processing of this case. We want to reiterate that the safety and wellbeing of Adass Israel School students is our highest priority and responsibility, and we have zero tolerance for abuse of any kind. While this case is currently before the courts, we are unable to comment specifically on the allegations or the details of the case at hand.”
Benjamin Koppel, president, Adass Israel Congregation.

“This protracted saga to have Leifer extradited to return to Melbourne to face trial has, it seems, finally ended after over 60 hearings. But now, 12 long years after she fled Australia, Leifer is on her way back to face her accusers in court. That Leifer was allowed to escape justice for so long was a travesty. While it’s a relief that Israel’s justice system has finally prevailed, the time and process that resulted in these delays are completely unacceptable. That she is coming is largely due to the tireless efforts of Dassi Erlich and her sisters, as well as their support network. It is they who kept up the pressure and who never gave up. My thoughts are with them tonight.”
Jeremy Leibler, president, Zionist Federation of Australia.

Dassi Erlich, Elly Sapper and Nicole Meyer. Photo: Peter Haskin

“We welcome the news from Israel that Malka Leifer is now en route to Australia following the completion of her extradition process after many years of delay and deception by Leifer that caused tremendous suffering to her victims. Listening to Leifer’s alleged victims, it is apparent that nothing will remedy the harm caused to them but the delivery of justice, no matter how belated, is the very least these brave women deserve and that Israeli and Australian justice requires. We again commend the alleged victims for their strength and dignity in the face of incomprehensible adversity and we hope that this dark chapter will soon come to a close.”
Alex Ryvchin, co-CEO, Executive Council of Australian Jewry.

“We hope the images of Malka Leifer being escorted onto a plane to Australia will bring some satisfaction to her many alleged victims. Her alleged victims have endured so much for so long and we hope this news has brought them a renewed sense of relief and strength as their pursuit of justice continues.”
Mark Leibler, national chairman, Australia-Israel Jewish Affairs Council.

“We acknowledge the long-term commitment of those in the Israeli Government, including a personal reassurance from President Reuven Rivlin, in achieving this outcome, but most significantly, the essential role of the independent Israeli justice system which pursued Malka Leifer’s extradition for so many years, so doggedly. This has been an extremely long journey, and while it is not over yet, progress today has been dramatically gratifying.”
Colin Rubenstein, executive director, Australia-Israel Jewish Affairs Council.

“This is surely a difficult, but important day for the three courageous sisters who have led the vanguard to ensure that Ms Leifer is brought to justice in Victoria. The Jewish community stands behind Dassi Erlich, Nicole Meyer and Elly Sapper as the focus shifts from the overly long extradition process to the forthcoming trial. We look forward to the Court’s ultimate resolution and judgement.”
Yossi Goldfarb, president, Zionism Victoria.

“Today the NCJWA Victoria community breathes a sigh of relief at the news of Malka Leifer’s return to Australia to face 74 charges of alleged sexual abuse. Leifer’s departure, mere hours prior to the closure of Israel’s airport due to COVID-19, further highlights the importance of ensuring her trial is held without delay. We are confident that the Victorian legal system will ensure a just and fair trial.

As we have done throughout their years-long fight for justice, NCJWA Vic stands together with Dassi Erlich, Nicole Meyer, Elly Sapper and all alleged victims in this tragic and drawn-out saga. Tzedek Tzedek Tirdof.”
Alexandra P. Silver, CEO, National Council of Jewish Women Australia (Victoria)

“We are relieved that the Israeli Justice Minister Nissenkorn paved the way for Leifer’s to Australia.”
Frank Greenstein, interim president, Jewish Community Council of Victoria

“[I] applaud the strength, determination and resilience of Dassi Erlich, Nicole Meyer and Elly Sapper.”
Judy Fetter, executive director, Jewish Community Council of Victoria.

“The Rabbinical Association of Australasia joins together with the entire community in welcoming Malka Leifer’s return to Australia to Australia to face justice.”
Rabbi Yaakov Glasman, president, Rabbinical Association of Australasia.

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