Malka Leifer led by prison service officers in Jerusalem court
Malka Leifer led by prison service officers in Jerusalem courtFlash 90

A Jerusalem court on Monday pushed off the extradition process for the former principal of an Orthodox girls’ school in Australia who fled to Israel after being accused of multiple counts of sexual abuse.

The Jerusalem District Court ordered Monday morning that Malka Leifer, former principal of the Adass Israel School in Melbourne, undergo a whole new set of psychiatric examinations to determine whether the former educator is fit to be extradited and stand trial in Australia.

In its decision Monday, the court said a panel of psychiatrists would be selected for the examinations at a hearing two weeks from Sunday.

The court’s decision Monday is the latest delay in the extradition process for Leifer, who fled Australia in 2008, after being indicted on 74 charges of sexually abusing minors.

Leifer was arrested by Israeli police in 2014, but was found mentally unfit for extradition – a finding reaffirmed by a 2016 evaluation. In February 2018, a court again ruled that Leifer could not be extradited.

After being accused of abusing victims in Israel in June 2018, however, Leifer was again arrested, and faced renewed calls for her extradition amid allegations she had been falsely portrayed as being mentally unfit.

Israeli police revealed in 2019 that they had opened an investigation into the possibility that Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman (United Torah Judaism) had assisted Leifer in securing recommendations from medical officials that she not be extradited.

In response to the Jerusalem District Court’s decision Monday, the Jewish Community Watch organization, which has called for Leifer’s immediate extradition to Australia, criticized the move, calling it an “international embarrassment.”

“Enough is enough! After more than 57 court hearings, the court has pushed off the decision once again and assigned it to yet another group of psychiatrists. The real decisions the court has made today is that it wishes to be seen as an international embarrassment instead of a justice system which protects the most vulnerable,” the JCW said in a statement.

“We continue to support the survivors, who have waited far longer then any victim should have to in order to simply face their alleged abuser in court. Their fight for justice is our fight, and we hope the community will rally around them until such time that Leifer is finally extradited back to Australia.”