(JTA) — After six years of hearings, a Jerusalem court on Monday ordered the extradition of alleged serial pedophile Malka Leifer to Australia.
Leifer fled to Israel 12 years ago from Australia amid allegations that she had sexually abused students when she was the principal at the Adass Yisroel school in Melbourne. Australia officially filed an extradition request in 2014 following her indictment on 74 counts of rape and sexual assault.
Attorneys for Leifer, 53, said they would appeal Monday’s ruling in Jerusalem District Court to the Supreme Court. The high court ruled earlier this month that Leifer was fit for extradition proceedings and it is unclear if the justices would even hear another case.
Leifer was arrested in 2014 and then released after being deemed mentally unfit for the legal proceedings. She was rearrested in 2018 after an undercover investigation found that she lived a normal life and was mentally fit to face extradition proceedings.
The case has led to bad feelings against Israel in the Australian Jewish community.
“Leifer and the Adass Israel School hoped that they had avoided justice and that the horrific allegations against her would never be heard in an Australian court,” Manny Waks, CEO of Kol V’Oz, an organization to prevent child sex abuse, said in a statement. “And in facilitating her escape, not even they could have foreseen the extent to which certain ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities in Israel and around the world would go to protect an accused pedophile and how the failures of the Israeli justice system would help them in their quest for an alleged pedophile to avoid justice.”
Waks said he has attended nearly every one of the 71 court hearings involving Leifer.