‘Long Overdue’: Australian Jewish Leaders Welcome Expected Extradition of Accused Pedophile

Leaders of the Jewish community of Australia on Wednesday welcomed an Israeli court ruling that paves the way for the extradition of accused pedophile Malka Leifer but questioned why it took so long.

The Jerusalem District Court ruled on Tuesday that Leifer – indicted in Australia on 74 counts of rape and sexual assault – is mentally fit to stand trial. The former principal of a religious school for girls in Melbourne had fled to Israel in 2008, after she was charged. In 2014,  Australia requested her extradition after she was located by Israeli police. She has since claimed that she is mentally unfit to stand trial.

The case has severely strained Israel’s relations with the usually very supportive Australian Jewish community.

Peter Wertheim, co-chief executive officer of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, said the Israeli court ruling marks “a long-awaited and long-overdue milestone” in the quest to bring Leifer to justice in Australia.