‘Excited, relieved’: Leifer victim welcomes possible charges against Israeli minister

An alleged abuse victim of Melbourne school principal Malka Leifer has welcomed a police recommendation that an Israeli minister be charged after claims that he tried to stop her extradition.

Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman is accused of pressuring psychiatrists to alter the conclusions of their reports about Ms Leifer so a court would find her mentally unfit to stand trial, The Times of Israel reported.

Ms Leifer, who was the head of Melbourne’s ultra-orthodox Adass Israel school, faces 74 charges of sexual assault of female students.

She fled to Israel in 2008 after the sex offence allegations emerged. An Israeli court ruled in 2016 that Ms Leifer, who has denied the charges, was mentally unfit to face extradition and trial.

She was re-arrested in 2018 after a police investigation cast doubts on her health claims, and is in prison awaiting an extradition ruling.

One of Ms Leifer’s alleged victims during her time as principal at Adass, Dassi Erlich, said she was grateful that questions continually raised through the #BringLeiferBack campaign “resulted in one more step to achieving justice”.

“The investigation that followed into Health Minister Litzman, brought to light the systemic cover up and support of abusers in the highest levels of government, particularly in the Malka Leifer case,” Ms Erlich said.

“The recommendation for Litzman to be charged has us feeling excited, relieved and encouraged going forward.”

Prominent sexual abuse survivor and advocate Manny Waks said the announcement was a welcome development in a prolonged and sordid case.

Read the article by Tom Cowie andNicole Precel in the Brisbane Times.