Bring Back Leifer

Dassi Erlich (second from left) accompanied by her sister Elly and Ted Baillieu meeting Malcolm Turnbull last Friday.

AUSTRALIAN Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull met with child sexual abuse survivor Dassi Erlich last Friday to discuss the stalled extradition proceedings against former Adass Israel principal Malka Leifer.

“We spent half an hour talking and I felt that he was very aware of the issues and he wanted to hear more about my story,” Erlich told The AJN.

Leifer fled to Israel in 2008 when accusations that she had abused students at the school surfaced. Despite Erlich’s campaign to bring her back to Australia to face justice, Leifer has remained there ever since. Last year, an Israeli judge ruled she is too mentally unstable to face extradition proceedings relating to 74 counts of alleged abuse, but she was not hospitalised and her movements are unrestricted.

“The Prime Minister was definitely empathetic and interested.

“He wasn’t just asking the right questions. He meant what he said.”

Turnbull, as well as a host of other Federal Members of Parliaments, are travelling to Israel later this month for the Battle of Beersheba Centenary commemorations.

Erlich, who was accompanied by her sister Elly Sapper and former Victoria Premier Ted Baillieu, is hoping that Turnbull will raise Leifer’s extradition with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other high-level government officials. “I felt assured that he will take this up in Israel,” she said. “I’m confident that he will back up his words with action.”

A spokesperson for Turnbull said it was a constructive and positive meeting. “The government remains committed to securing Malka Leifer’s extradition and will continue to raise Dassi’s case with the Israeli government at all levels,” the spokesperson said.

JOSHUA LEVI