Morrison urged Israel’s PM to prioritise Malka Leifer’s extradition

Prime Minister Scott Morrison raised the case of ex-Melbourne principal and accused paedophile Malka Leifer in his first call with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu last year, and intends to urge the country’s incoming leader to accept the extradition request.

It marks the highest level of talks on the case since former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull discussed extraditing Ms Leifer with Mr Netanyahu in 2017.

Australia issued an extradition request to Israel in 2013 and has increasingly urged the country to return Ms Leifer, who fled Australia for Israel in 2008 after being accused of abusing female students at Melbourne’s ultra-Orthodox Adass Israel school in Elsternwick.

Mr Morrison raised the case with Mr Netanyahu in his first call with the leader in August last year, when he urged the Israeli prime minister to keep the extradition request at high priority.

A spokesman for Mr Morrison confirmed he would urge the new Israeli prime minister to hasten extradition too after Mr Netanyahu’s rival Benny Gantz attempts to form government after a dead-heat national election.

Foreign Minister Marise Payne discussed Ms Leifer’s case with her counterpart on the United Nations’ sidelines last month, and Attorney-General Christian Porter plans to raise it directly with Israel’s Justice Department when he likely travels to the country later this year.

Read the article by Max Koslowski in The Sydney Morning Herald.