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Ex-Principal arrested in Israel

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A former principal of a Melbourne Jewish girls’ school has been arrested in Israel and is facing extradition over sexual assault allegations.

The federal Attorney-General’s Department confirmed Malka Leifer was taken into custody in Israel after an extradition request from Australian authorities.

It was reported that Ms Leifer was the principal of the Adass Israel School in Elsternwick, who fled to Israel in 2008 after she was sacked following allegations of improper conduct with students.

A spokesman for the Attorney-General’s Department said Ms Leifer was wanted to face prosecution in Victoria for alleged sexual assault offences.

A Victoria Police spokeswoman said an investigation continued into complaints of historical sex offences at an Elsternwick school.

Both the department and police said it would be inappropriate to comment further, given the matter was now before the courts.

Manny Waks, from Tzedek, a support group for Jewish victims of child sexual abuse, welcomed the development.

“I hope and expect that the Adass Israel School will co-operate fully with the police,” Mr Waks said on Monday.

“It should be seen in the greater context of the ongoing child sexual abuse scandal that has been plaguing the Australian Jewish community in recent years.

“Many victims are no longer willing to remain silent, and neither is the community.”