AN Israeli judge has let Malka Leifer (pictured) off the hook for another six months, ruling out extradition hearings until June.
Survivors who allege that they were abused by the former Adass Israel principal were livid in 2016 when she was freed from house arrest – and are now crestfallen that, for the third time, she has been given a reprieve. All moves to return her to Victoria, where she is wanted on 74 charges of child sexual abuse, are now on hold.
The judge’s decision was based on the periodic recommendation of a psychiatric panel, which accepted Leifer’s claim that she is too unwell to face legal proceedings. But survivors and their supporters are outraged.
Former Adass student Dassi Erlich, who was found by a civil court in 2015 to have been abused by Leifer, told The AJN: “We are reeling from this outcome and are extremely distressed by this ongoing injustice.
“We will not give up, this is not the end of the road. We will continue campaigning to bring Malka Leifer back.”
Manny Waks, the Australian child abuse survivor and activist who now lives in Israel, told The AJN:”It’s disappointing to see that once again Leifer is able to play the system.”
For another survivor and advocate, Rae Le Fleur, the decision constitutes a “disgraceful outcome,” and “real change” is now needed.
Waks said that if the Israeli justice system believes she is unwell, it should back up the conviction with action, and put her in an asylum.
“If Leifer isn’t well enough to face justice, she must be institutionalised until she recuperates enough to do so,” he said.
“This ongoing injustice is unfair to her alleged victims, it sends out the wrong message to other victims and it potentially continues to put children in Israel at significant risk.”