Dear President Rivlin
Re: Malka Leifer extradition case
We refer to your visit to Australia in late February, when you were welcomed whole-heartedly not only by the Australian Jewish community but also by Australia’s political and business leaders, among many others. You would have been able to experience first-hand the enormous goodwill towards Israel that exists in Australia, as well as our respect and affection for you.
During your visit you were asked about the application that has been before the Jerusalem District Court since 2014 to extradite Malka Leifer from Israel to Australia to face 74 counts of child sexual abuse. As you know, Malka Leifer’s lawyers have resisted her extradition, maintaining that she is mentally unfit to participate in court proceedings.
So many aspects of this case have become notorious: the unexplained reversals of testimony by Jerusalem District Psychiatrist Jacob Charnes about Malka Leifer’s mental fitness; the recommendation by Israeli police that Yaakov Litzman be charged with manipulating psychiatric evidence in the case while he was Israel’s Deputy Health Minister; the evidence that Malka Leifer has been malingering; and the seemingly never-ending rounds of psychiatric assessments.
As each court appearance has passed without resulting in an extradition order, further trauma has been inflicted on the survivors and the reputation of Israel’s justice system has been tarnished. We are utterly appalled by the news that Mr Litzman may be Health Minister in the new Israeli government, while the accusations against him concerning the ongoing Malka Leifer case remain unresolved.
Some of Israel’s most passionate supporters within the Jewish community and in the wider community in Australia have publicly expressed their dismay about the delays that have occurred, and other irregular aspects of the case.
During your visit to Australia you gave an assurance that if hearings scheduled during the week of your visit did not see progress towards Malka Leifer being extradited to Australia, you would personally meet with the Chief Justice of Israel to discuss how this matter can be expedited.
Sadly, there has been no such progress. Justice continues to be delayed and denied for Dassi Erlich, Nicole Meyer, Elly Sapper and Malka Leifer’s other alleged victims.
Even as Israel, Australia and indeed the world are focused on dealing with the Covid19 pandemic crisis, we appeal to you to make good on your pledge during your visit to Australia to make personal contact with the Chief Justice of Israel and do anything else within your power to discuss how this matter can be expedited and brought to a finality without further delay. This is the unanimous desire of the organised Jewish community in Australia, and of Israel’s many friends in the wider Australian community. Justice demands no less.
Jillian Segal AO
Executive Council of Australian Jewry – ECAJ
Zionist Federation of Australia
Dr. Colin Rubenstein AM
Peter Wertheim AM