Israeli President Reuven Rivlin has promised to raise the case of Australian alleged child abuser Malka Leifer with his country’s top judge if her extradition case continues to stall in the courts.
Ms Leifer is the former principal of the ultra-Orthodox Adass Jewish school in Melbourne, and travelled to Israel in 2008 after allegations of sexual abuse were levelled against her by former students.
She has been battling extradition proceedings ever since 2014, with her lawyers arguing she is not mentally fit to travel to Australia to face 74 sexual abuse charges.
Mr Rivlin discussed the matter with Prime Minister Scott Morrison during a visit to Canberra today, where Mr Morrison voiced Australia’s strong desire to see justice in the case.
Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese also met the President, alongside Labor MP Josh Burns.
The Addas school is in Mr Burns’ Melbourne electorate of Macnamara, and three of the alleged victims are constituents — Dassi Erlich, Nicole Meyer and Elly Sapper.
“I was pleased that President Rivlin advised me that if hearings scheduled this week do not see this matter progress towards Malka Leifer being extradited to Australia, he will personally meet with the Chief Justice of Israel to discuss how this matter can be expedited,” Mr Burns said.
“This matter has dragged on far too long.
“These victims deserve justice and I will continue to fight until Malka Leifer is back in Australia facing trial.”
In another setback to the case, Ms Leifer’s defence lawyers were granted permission to question members of the psychiatric panel that said she was competent to face trial for extradition.
Ms Erlich and Ms Meyer have both travelled to Canberra in the past to lobby the Government to press the case with Israel, concerned that Ms Leifer was using delaying tactics.
The matter has received broad political support, with Mr Burns recently teaming up with Liberal MP and former ambassador to Israel Dave Sharma.