Sadly, there are political forces at play that are clearly serving as obstacles to allowing the courts to do their rightful jobs.
By YUVAL CHERLOWPublished: DECEMBER 30, 2019 21:45Advertisement
For many months now, the Israeli justice system has been involved with the disturbing case of Malka Leifer, an Australian teacher who has been accused of multiple cases of serious abuse against many of her students – girls who are now women and who describe being deeply scarred by what they experienced.Let it be clear that I don’t have the tools or knowledge to state definitively if the claims against her are all accurate and can be legally proven. But based on my knowledge of the case and knowing others who have been in direct touch with her victims, every indication is that her actions have caused irreparable harm.The eventual decision of her legal guilt or innocence will be decided in a court of law and not on social media or any other public forum. Yet there is indisputable evidence that there are victims who have been permanently scarred for life and deserve a proper response.Young women have had their lives negatively defined by this woman who was meant to serve as a teacher and spiritual guide. For them, the waiting for the judicial process to move ahead is pouring additional salt into their emotional wounds and is therefore unacceptable.What is also indisputable is that we are witness to a judicial process that is not operating as it should. Sadly, there are political forces at play that are clearly serving as obstacles to allowing the courts to do their rightful jobs.Injecting politics or anything other than objective facts into a judicial process is the definition of unethical practice. Ethics in judgment requires that the facts be analyzed completely on their merits. By introducing political and communal factors into assessing guilt, we are doing a major disservice to the victims, and oftentimes to the accused as well.In the case of Malka Leifer, there is also a definite issue of the message behind politicization of a judicial process. Many within the community to which Leifer belongs view any defense of her actions as a justification of her actions, a deeply dangerous precedent which can potentially lead to future victims. The facts of this case, where an outwardly religious women is able to flee to Israel, is also disturbing. Our country must not be viewed, either internally or in international opinion, as a place where people can escape justice because they are Jews. We are intended to be a refuge for Jews in need, but not an escape haven for the guilty.I therefore implore the relevant authorities to act as quickly as possible to bring this matter to justice. Leifer is not simply one accused woman, she is symbolic of a deeply troubling problem within elements of Jewish society where abuse can go ignored – and where crimes are excused because of identity politics.In the name of Jewish ethical practice, we cannot be silent as victims continue to suffer. Let us prove the greatness of Israel and our commitment to law and justice, and see that this woman’s case is closed and that she is quickly returned to Australia where she will be forced to defend her alleged crimes.The writer is director of the Tzohar Center for Jewish Ethics and a founder of the Tzohar Rabbinical Organization.
Related TagstzoharMalka Leifer
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