Israel’s Supreme Court has ruled that the former principal of a Jewish girls’ school in Melbourne who fled to Israel amid allegations that she sexually abused students will remain in prison until the end of extradition proceedings.
Malka Leifer is viewed as untrustworthy and a flight risk, the court ruled Monday.
The decision came after the appeal of a Jerusalem District Court decision that would have released her to house arrest.
Rabbi Yitzchak Dovid Grossman, the chief rabbi of Migdal HaEmek and head of Migdal Ohr educational institutions, had offered to host Leifer under house arrest, but withdrew the offer after pressure from donors to Migdal Ohr who saw the offer as support of Leifer’s attempt to avoid trial.
Leifer, who is wanted on 74 charges of child sexual abuse in Melbourne, was arrested last month following a police undercover operation to investigate her claim that she is mentally unfit to appear in court.
The former principal of the Adass Yisroel girls’ school, where the alleged crimes took place, has avoided court proceedings to seek her extradition to Australia by claiming mental incapacity, and has missed several court appearances by saying she was feeling unwell. The police operation was undertaken at the request of Interpol.
Leifer, who is in her 50s, reportedly has been living in the northern Samaria town of Emmanuel, where she was arrested. She fled Australia in 2008, allegedly with the help of school officials, shortly before she was charged.