Aussie Jews slam Israeli appointment over extradition delay fears

A controversial new political appointment in Israel has raised fears that Australia’s efforts to extradite alleged child abuser Malka Leifer could be delayed.

Ms Leifer is due to fight 74 counts of sexual assault in Victoria related to her time as principal of the Ultra-Orthodox Adass Israel school from 2001 to 2008.

After fleeing to Israel in 2008, Ms Leifer was arrested and place under house arrest when an extradition request was lodged in 2014. Citing mental health problems, she has since avoided being extradited to Australia.

However the appointment of Ultra-Orthodox Israeli politician Yaakov Litzman to the role of Israeli Health Minister has been criticised over concerns it could stymie further extradition attempts.

As Deputy Health Minister, Mr Litzman allegedly issued a false psychiatric report designed to stop Ms Leifer’s extradition for mental health reasons.

Israeli police have recommended that Mr Litzman be indicted for his alleged actions, a decision that ultimately rests with the Attorney-General.

The Zionist Federation of Australia attacked the move to promote Mr Litzman in an open letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Zionist Federation president Jeremy Leibler warned Mr Netanyahu the appointment would be “be a slap in the face to the Australian Jewish Community, the Australian people, the community of Australian olim in Israel and most shockingly to the survivors of Malka Leifer’s alleged abuse.”

Read the article by Lachlan Moffet Gray in The Sydney Morning Herald.