Australian PM pressures Israel to extradite Malka Leifer

PM Scott Morrison says that he has raised ongoing failure to extradite alleged pedophile Leifer with Netanyahu, states that Australian-Israel friendship based on "justice," "rule of law."

Benjamin Netanyahu (left) and Scott Morrison (right)  (photo credit: ABIR SULTAN/POOL/REUTERS AND DAVID GRAY/REUTERS)
Benjamin Netanyahu (left) and Scott Morrison (right)
(photo credit: ABIR SULTAN/POOL/REUTERS AND DAVID GRAY/REUTERS)
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has called for the legal proceedings in Israel against alleged pedophile Malka Leifer to be carried out as quickly as possible so that she can face justice in Australia.
In a statement to the press after meeting two of Leifer’s alleged victims on Tuesday, Morrison said that he had raised the issue with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and noted that Australia’s relationship with Israel was based on a “shared commitment” to justice and the rule of law.
Dassi Erlich and Nicole Meyer, two of the three sisters who have alleged that Leifer sexually abused them at their high-school where she was the principal, met with Morrison on Tuesday in the Australian capital city of Canberra to ramp up pressure for Leifer’s extradition from Israel to stand trial for 74 charges of sexual abuse against minors.
Morrison “commended” Erlich and Meyer for their “brave campaign for justice for the horrific allegations of abuse committed against them and others,” and said that his government “stands with them.”
He added: “This matter is currently before the justice system in Israel, and we call for the matter to be resolved transparently and quickly.”
Morrison said that he had “previously raised this commitment with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu” and would continue to do so “with the incoming Israeli leadership,” while also noting that Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne and embassy officials had also frequently raised the issue with their Israeli counterparts.
“Australia is a strong and committed friend and partner of Israel,” the Australian prime minister added. “That friendship is based on many things, including our shared commitment to justice, democracy and the rule of law.”
Leifer fled Australia to come to Israel in 2008, but legal proceedings against her only began after her arrest in 2014, during which she claimed to be mentally unfit for extradition.
Following a private investigation into her behavior in 2017, the police began its own investigation and arrested Leifer in 2018 on suspicion of feigning mental illness to avoid extradition.
According to Australia’s ABC News, Erlich and Meyer urged Morrison to raise the issue with the next Israeli government.
“This has taken a tremendous toll on both of our lives, traveling back and forth, not seeing any results, the frustrations, knowing at some point that [Leifer] might get bail – it has had an emotional toll on our lives,” Erlich was quoted as saying.
Meyer added: “We’re trying to give a message to all survivors that even if you have been abused, life can go on, justice should be served and we no longer need to sweep it under the carpet, and we want to stand strong on behalf of all others, not just ourselves.”
Herb Keinon contributed to this report.