Published On: Mon, May 18th, 2015

Australian Haredi Woman Facing Extradition from Israel For Abusing Children

The former school principal stands accused of sexually abusing young girls.

Malka Leifer

Malka Leifer, the former principal of Adass Israel school for girls in Melbourne, is facing extradition back to Australia on charges that she had abused her students for years. She has been in Israel since 2008.

While Jews from around the world have a right to move to Israel and become citizens there, they are not allowed to do so to escape criminal charges for offenses that they may have committed. Such people can, and are, extradited back to their countries of origin.

Ms. Leifer fled to Israel seven years ago a mere days after allegations of 74 counts of sexual abuse against three sisters at the school were made. A civil suit was also filed against her. The sisters say that they were abused up to three times a week by the mother of eight.

Catholic Priests are not the only ones to have abused children in their care. Yeshiva University in New York was recently rocked by a scandal in which it came out that it had covered up charges of sexual abuse committed by rabbis against students at it high school in Manhattan. A senior rabbis in Israel was recently convicted for sexually abusing his teenage students.

But a woman abusing girls? This is rare to say the least.

According to a report in Australia’s Herald Sun, a member of Adass Israel’s committee admitted to helping Leifer flee the country in his court testimony.

Mair Ernst testified that after the allegations surfaced his wife Hadassa arranged plane tickets for the then principal. “We had accusations only and very, very little information that Mrs Leifer had molested girls, ” he said. The school’s committee, apparently, agreed to arrange flights for Ms Leifer and her family.

“She was manipulative and we wanted to do everything possible to protect these poor girls, ” he said.

Adass Israel school

As the civil suit against the school moves forward in a Melbourne court, it is trying to deflect all blame for what happened on Leifer.

“Why does it matter whether the school or the congregation employed her if the school admits it owes the plaintiff a non-delegable duty of care?” the presiding judge, Justice Rush, asked defense counsel.

The defense countered that the school had “responded in a responsible and appropriate way” when the accusations against Leifer were made.

Leifer has been jailed in Israel for the past eight months as she attempts to fight extradition back to Australia.

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