Leifer extradition on PM’s agenda

From left to right: sisters Elly Sapper, Nicole Meyer and Dassi Erlich with Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky.

CHILD sexual abuse survivor Dassi Erlich is hoping she is close to a breakthrough that could see her alleged attacker, Malka Leifer, face justice.

During a trip to Israel, over the past week Erlich and her two sisters, Elly Sapper and Nicole Meyer, who are also survivors, met with Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, as well as Knesset members Michal Biran, Sharren Haskel, Nathan Shai and Merav Michaeli.

Erlich was an Adass Israel School student when she was allegedly assaulted by Leifer. Assisted by senior members of the Adass community, Leifer fled to Israel in 2008 when accusations against her surfaced, and she 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.

In recent days, the three sisters have also met with the prosecutor in the case, the head of Israel’s extradition office, Australian Members of Parliament and several Israeli media outlets.

But without a doubt, the biggest move this week was from Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull who discussed the case with his counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu.

“I raised it with him and we discussed it in some detail and he has certainly taken all of that on board,” Turnbull said.

“I can’t go into any more detail than that because really it is a matter for the Israeli authorities but I have absolutely raised it in quite a bit of depth.”

The three survivors told The AJN in a joint statement that their hope has not diminished, but strengthened this week.

“We believe that our meetings with Knesset members, government agencies, sexual abuse advocacy organisations and various media mediums have raised awareness in the Israeli and Australian communities and has reached the highest levels of government,” they said.

“While this experience has been challenging it has also been immensely empowering to have a voice and to be heard.

“The outpouring of support continues to motivate us and validate our work towards this cause.”

JOSHUA LEVI