Malka Leifer, a former Australian school principal who is wanted in Australia on suspicion of sexually abusing students, walks in the corridor of the Jerusalem District Court accompanied by Israeli Prison Service guards, in Jerusalem February 14, 2018.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Zionist Federation of Australia (ZFA) is calling on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to ensure that Deputy Minister Ya’acov Litzman not be appointed to any public position until completion of an investigation into allegations that he interfered on behalf of at least 10 sex offenders, including one from Australia.
Netanyahu is in the last two days of deliberations before the deadline to form a government, which would include Litzman’s ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism party.
ZFA President Jeremy Leibler met earlier this week with Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog to express the concerns of the Australian Jewish community regarding the ongoing delays in the extradition of Malka Leifer, an ultra-Orthodox alleged pedophile who was arrested in Israel in February 2018. Victorian police fought to bring Leifer back to Australia to face 74 charges of child sexual abuse.
In February of this year, the National Fraud Investigation Unit began investigating Litzman on suspicion of obstructing legal proceedings by working to obtain false papers in order to prevent Leifer’s extradition.
Specifically, Litzman is suspected of trying to obtain psychiatric medical evaluations that would prevent her extradition.
“These additional allegations, if proven true, are an insult to the survivors of sexual abuse and to Jewish communities around the world,” Leibler said in a statement, noting that the prospect of Litzman continuing on as a minister in the Israeli government while these allegations are being investigated “would place strain on the relationship between the State of Israel and the Australian Jewish community.”
The Australian Jewish community has also met with deputy director general of the Foreign Ministry for the Asia Pacific, Gilad Cohen, to communicate the Jewish community’s concerns, and has a meeting set with the director general of the Foreign Ministry, Yuval Rotem.
“The ZFA stands with the alleged victims of Malka Leifer,” said Leibler. “We will continue to advocate on their behalf until Malka Leifer faces justice in Australia.”