Malka Leifer's father-in-law arrested for alleged sexual abuse

Two people came forward to accuse Baruch Leifer of sexual abuse including a family member who said he abused her when she was 12.

Malka Leifer (photo credit: MAARIV/AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)
Malka Leifer
(photo credit: MAARIV/AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

Rabbi Baruch Liefer, the father-in-law of Malka Leifer, was arrested for alleged sexual abuse at the end of January in Israel. The gag order on his identity was lifted on Monday.

The arrest was made after two people came forward to accuse Leifer of assault. The first was a family member who accused him of sexually assaulting her several times when she was 12. The second was a man who said Leifer sexually assaulted him in Israel when he was 18.

Leifer is under house arrest, which on Sunday was extended for a week by the Jerusalem District Court.

Leifer, who is now in his 70s, comes from a long line of notable rabbis and was an influential rabbi in the small Chust Hassidic sect. He has denied the accusations, saying that they were the orchestrations of a family dispute.

“We are happy that Leifer’s name has been approved for publishing and hope that publishing his name will give his other complainants the strength to come forward and accuse him,” said the Magen organization in a statement.

 LIKE MALKA LEIFER, he preyed on unsuspecting, same-sex minors: Australian sisters Elly Sapper, Dassi Erlich and Nicole Meyer, allegedly sexually abused by former headteacher Leifer. (Pictured: In Jerusalem District Court, 2019). (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90) LIKE MALKA LEIFER, he preyed on unsuspecting, same-sex minors: Australian sisters Elly Sapper, Dassi Erlich and Nicole Meyer, allegedly sexually abused by former headteacher Leifer. (Pictured: In Jerusalem District Court, 2019). (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

“Unfortunately, many people in the community knew and said nothing, which probably allowed him to harm others," the statement said. "It’s time for the community members to look inside, understand that silence is the source of evil and change their ways. We are proud of the accusers who acted out of a desire to prevent abuse of others.”

Malka Leifer is accused of 70 counts of sexual abuse of three of her students at the Adass Israel School in Australia where she was principal. After the accusations were initially made against her in 2008, she escaped to Israel, where she stayed until January 2021, when she was extradited back to Australia to face the charges.

If you are a victim of sexual abuse, it is important to remember that you are not alone. Nationwide hotlines are available for victims at the phone number 1202 for women and 1203 for men and youth.