One Step Forward, Ten Steps Back… Australia, The Royal Commission and YCL

Shock at Yeshivah

Waks: ‘Goldhirsch is now effectively back in charge of the safety and wellbeing of children, which is a disgrace and yet another slap in the face to victims/survivors’.

THE appointment of former Yeshivah Committee of Management (COM) member Michael Goldhirsch to the Yeshivah Centre Limited (YCL) board has been met with shock by sections of the community.

Chabad Institutions of Victoria Limited (CIVL) announced this week that Goldhirsch is a new member of its board, and that it has nominated him as one of three representatives on the YCL board, which is the roof board of CIVL and Yeshivah and Beth Rivkah Colleges.

Goldhirsch was a member of the COM until soon after the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in 2015.

During the time he was on the COM, children were sexually abused within the organisation and victims were re-victimised when they came forward.

Child sexual abuse victim Manny Waks said he was shocked by the announcement.

“Goldhirsch himself has never privately apologised [to me],” Waks said.

“We had hoped that a ‘new’ Yeshivah leadership would heed the message from the Royal Commission and internally hold to account those who disgraced their institution so badly and caused untold damage to many individuals and to the broader Jewish community.

“Astonishingly, Goldhirsch is now effectively back in charge of the safety and wellbeing of children, which is a disgrace and yet another slap in the face to victims/survivors and our families.”

Goldhirsch was part of the COM that was heavily criticised by Counsel Assisting the Royal Commission Maria Gerace, who stated that the COM hesitated when asked to support victims.

“Evidence shows that the Committee of Management sought advice from Robert Richter QC about the potential criminal liability of Rabbi Glick or others in respect of the (now convicted child sexual abuser) David Cyprys allegations and whether or not the COM should contact victims before writing to the community at large to publicly support victims and their families,” she said.

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Malka Leifer – Non-Compliance With the Psych Panel, The Advisers of the Indefensible

Malka Leifer, a former Australian school principal who is wanted in Australia on suspicion of sexual

COOPERATE WITH NEW PSYCH PANEL

Leifer’s lawyers added that they wished the judge to issue a ruling on whether Leifer is mentally fit to stand trial without a determination from the panel.

Lawyers for alleged pedophile Malka Leifer informed the Jerusalem District Court on Tuesday that she would refuse to cooperate with a new psychiatric panel which is scheduled to convene and evaluate her mental fitness for extradition.

Attorneys Yehuda Fried and Tal Gabbai have opposed the formation of a new psychiatric panel, arguing that previous determinations that Leifer was unfit for extradition were based on partially inaccurate evidence, as pointed out by the presiding judge in the case, Judge Chana Miriam Lomp.

“We wish to inform the honorable court that we cannot agree to the establishment of the panel and we cannot agree that our client will take any part in a review that may be conducted by the panel,” they wrote to the court.

Leifer’s lawyers added that they were requesting that the court issue a ruling immediately on whether or not Leifer is mentally fit to stand extradition trial without a determination from the panel.

This would then give them the opportunity to appeal such a decision to the Supreme Court, should the judge decide to proceed with extradition hearings.

Manny Waks, a campaigner against sexual abuse in the Jewish community, said that Leifer’s lawyers were again trying to drag out the case to prevent their client from being extradited and facing justice in Australia.

“They’re trying to prolong this case as along as possible,” said Waks. “It’s a publicity stunt. There is no genuine grounds for this step, and ultimately the court will see through it and hopefully will compel Leifer to participate in the process.”

In September, Lomp issued a decision to establish a new psychiatric panel, stating that the various contradictory medical opinions that have been submitted regarding Leifer’s mental state required that a new expert panel be appointed to make a new, authoritative decision.

Leifer’s lawyers argued that this decision demonstrated the flaws in a previous psychiatric determination that she was feigning mental illness, and claimed further that it should have precluded any new expert panel.

Leifer fled from Australia to Israel in 2008 after allegations of sexual abuse surfaced against her, but legal proceedings in Israel for extradition only began in 2014.

After Leifer was arrested that year, she claimed mental illness to avoid extradition to Australia, a claim which was backed up by Jerusalem district psychiatrist Jacob Charnes, who submitted psychiatric opinions declaring her to be mentally unfit for extradition trial, ultimately leading to her release from detention.

In 2018, Leifer was rearrested on suspicion of feigning mental illness to avoid extradition, and Charnes then signed off on the written opinion of two other psychiatrists of the Jerusalem district declaring that they believed her to be feigning mental illness.

He subsequently backtracked on that position.

Complicating matters further, Deputy Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman is alleged to have met with Charnes during the course of proceedings against Leifer and unduly pressured him into submitting a false opinion declaring the former principal at the Adass Israel School in Melbourne to be mentally unfit for extradition.

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Malka Leifer, Israel S. Ct. Overturns Decision to Release on Bail – Justice at Last?

Malka Leifer is led from the court by a police woman.

Israel’s Supreme Court overturns decision to release alleged paedophile Malka Leifer on bail

Israel’s Supreme Court has overturned a decision to release alleged paedophile Malka Leifer on bail.

Key points:

  • The Supreme Court rejected an order by the Jerusalem District Court to release Malka Leifer to house arrest
  • Victoria Police is attempting to extradite her to Australia to face the child sexual abuse charges
  • Ms Leifer has fought against her extradition on mental health grounds since 2014

Victoria Police is seeking to extradite Ms Leifer to face 74 charges of sexual abuse against students at the Adass Israel Jewish girls school in Melbourne, where she was the principal.

The Supreme Court judge who ruled in their favour, Anat Baron, mentioned concerns during the appeal about Ms Leifer seeking to evade extradition, as she left Australia hours after allegations against her surfaced in 2008.

 

Ms Leifer has been fighting extradition to Australia on mental health grounds since 2014.

The extradition stalled after a court ruled she had a debilitating mental illness and was not fit to be sent to Australia to face charges.

But private investigators commissioned by the group Jewish Community Watch filmed Ms Leifer shopping, socialising and going into Tel Aviv to cash welfare cheques, despite her telling the court she was housebound and catatonic.

That led Israeli police to arrest her on suspicion of obstruction of justice and she was jailed in February 2018, although that particular case against her has not progressed in Israel’s courts.

The country’s Deputy Health Minister, Yaakov Litzman, has also been accused of trying to stop the extradition by pressuring the Jerusalem District Psychiatrist to find Ms Leifer mentally unfit for extradition.

Police have recommended he be indicted for abusing his authority, but he denies any wrongdoing or that he sought to help Ms Leifer because she is from the same Jewish Orthodox sect.

On Thursday (local time), the Supreme Court of Israel rejected an order by the Jerusalem District Court last week to release Ms Leifer from jail to house arrest while her extradition case is underway.

One of Ms Leifer’s alleged victims, Dassi Erlich, welcomed the decision.

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Jewish “Alleged” Pedophiles, Israel Might Be Your Land of Milk and Honey… Malka Leifer Granted House Arrest

Malka Leifer, a former Australian school principal who is wanted in Australia on suspicion of sexual

ALLEGED PEDOPHILE MALKA LEIFER SENT TO HOUSE ARREST PENDING MENTAL EVALUATION

Leifer is standing trial for extradition to Australia on 74 counts of sexual abuse against sisters Dassi Erlich, Ellie Sapper and Nicole Meyer while she was principal of an ultra-Orthodox school.

Alleged sex offender Malka Leifer will be released to house arrest on Friday, the Jerusalem District Court ruled on Wednesday.

Following a decision last month by Judge Chana Miriam Lomp – who is presiding over the case – to appoint a new panel of psychiatric experts to evaluate Leifer’s mental fitness to stand extradition trial, Leifer’s lawyers appealed for her to be released from prison to house arrest.
Judge Ram Winograd, presiding over the house-arrest petition, acquiesced to that request on Wednesday, and Leifer will be released to her house in Bnei Brak with her sister.
The prosecution has until Friday to appeal the decision.
Leifer is standing trial for extradition on 74 counts of sexual abuse in Australia against sisters Dassi Erlich, Ellie Sapper and Nicole Meyer while she was principal of an ultra-Orthodox school. She has claimed for many years to be mentally unfit for extradition.
Leifer fled Australia to Israel in 2008, but legal proceedings against her only began in 2014.
A hearing on October 6 at the Jerusalem District Court will determine which psychiatrists will be on the three-member panel to decide whether she is mentally fit for extradition. The panel will be expected to issue its opinion by December 10.
“We are bitterly disappointed that Malka Leifer has been granted bail and is being released to house arrest,” said Jewish Community Watch, whose private investigation restarted legal proceedings against Leifer in 2018. “It’s impossible to understand how Leifer, who has already proved herself to be a flight risk, contemptuous of the justice system and a risk to children, would be allowed to leave prison.”
Leifer’s defense team has made it clear that their tactic is to drag out the proceedings for as long as possible, and the court appears to be allowing them to do so.
“I am deeply shocked and astounded that someone who is well enough to [be released to] house arrest isn’t well enough to go on a plane,” said one of Leifer’s alleged victims, Nicole Meyer. “I am hurt by the State of Israel.”
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ADDITIONAL READING ON LEIFER’S HOUSE ARREST:

Accused paedophile principal Malka Leifer on bail in Israel

RELATED STORIES:

 

RELATED STORY: Israeli court delays Australian alleged paedophile teacher’s extradition
RELATED STORY: Malka Leifer’s team rallies to prevent extradition to Australia over child sex assault charges
RELATED STORY: ‘We didn’t question it’: Why a school headmistress allegedly preyed on girls

Malka Leifer – The ONLY Way to Serve Justice for the Abused is to Return Her to Australia – Victims Abused by the System

Demonstration against Malka Leifer outside the Jerusalem District Court

MALKA LEIFER JUDGE: PANEL TO RULE ON ALLEGED PEDOPHILE’S MENTAL STATE

Decisions will stretch out even further legal proceedings to extradite alleged sex offender which have taken nearly six years

Judge Chana Miriam Lomp said that since there has been a considerable of conflicting information and testimony on the case she needed to hear from a new expert panel in order to make a definitive ruling on Leifer’s mental fitness.

A hearing on October 6 in the Jerusalem District Court will determine which psychiatrists will be on the three-member panel.

The panel will be expected to issue its opinion by December 10.

The decision will mean that the legal efforts to extradite Leifer to Australia which have already taken six years will drag on even longer, frustrating Leifer’s alleged victims and activists who have waged a concerted campaign for Leifer to stand trial in Australia.

Leifer is standing trial for extradition on 74 counts of sexual abuse in Australia against sisters Dassi Erlich, Ellie Sapper and Nicole Meyer while she was principal of an ultra-Orthodox school, but has for many years claimed to be mentally unfit for extradition.

Jewish Community Watch stated that it was very disappointed with the judge’s decision to consult with a new expert panel.

“After more than 57 court hearings, the court has pushed off the decision once again and assigned it to yet another group of psychiatrists,” said JCW.

“The real decisions the court has made today is that it wishes to be seen as an international embarrassment instead of a justice system which protects the most vulnerable.

“We continue to support the survivors, who have waited far longer than any victim should have to in order to simply face their alleged abuser in court. Their fight for justice is our fight, and we hope the community will rally around them until such time that Leifer is finally extradited back to Australia.”

Leifer’s lawyer Attorney Yehuda Fried spun the decision as in favor of his client arguing that “the court has determined that the state has not lifted its burden [of proof] and argued that the ruling meant Leifer would not be extradited.

Fried also said that he would petiiton the court to release Leifer from prison where she has been held since she was rearrested in 2018.

Leifer fled Australia to come to Israel in 2008, but legal proceedings against her only began in 2014.

A psychiatric panel ruled on Leifer’s case at the beginning of the legal proceedings against her that she was fit to stand trial for extradition to Australia but a private investigation into her situation in 2017 conducted on behalf of the Jewish Community Watch organization raised severe questions over her supposed psychiatric incapacity to stand trial.

The police subsequently initiated its own investigation and arrested Leifer in 2018 on suspicion of feigning mental illness to avoid extradition.

In May 2017 after a previous hearing in the District Court, private investigator Tzafrir Tzahi who carried out the private investigation into Leifer, said that his team had observed Leifer for two weeks and that her behavior and functioning seemed perfectly normal.

“During the investigation we saw that she was functioning like a normative woman and mother,” said Tzahi.

“She does the shopping, hosts her children on Shabbat, goes to the grocery store, goes to the post office, speaks a lot on the cell phone, laughs, converses with people, nothing that could indicate a problem with her daily functioning,” he continued, adding that they had also witnessed her writing cheques and paying bills.

Tzahi noted that Leifer does not work, but that she occasionally goes to Bnei Brak, alone by public transport, for various arrangements and also to meet one of her children.

He also stated that during the entire two weeks his team had tracked her they had not seen her husband once.

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Kol V’Oz – Preventing Child Sexual Abuse in the Global Jewish Community

Special Thanks to the Contributor of this Newsletter

 

Dear Lost Messiah,
I’m delighted to announce that Kol v’Oz has been granted Core Participant status in the forthcoming investigation into the UK Jewish community by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA). This means that Kol v’Oz and I will be an active part of the Inquiry and will be able to testify, ask questions of witnesses, make submissions, among other benefits. A public hearing will be held in March 2020.

Those of you who followed the monumental Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse would be aware of the significant positive impact this continues to have both in the broader Australian society and more specifically in the Jewish community. We hope and expect this to also be the case in the UK.

I would like to take this opportunity to encourage anyone who has been sexually abused within a Jewish institution in the UK to contact IICSA to share your story. Please feel free to contact me as well (or alternatively, if contacting IICSA is an issue). Please also contact me if you have any information regarding cover-ups and/or intimidation within any UK Jewish institution.

Our colleagues at Migdal Emunah have also received Core Participant status – please feel free to contact them as well. We will continue to work together with Migdal Emunah to ensure the Inquiry is well-equipped to investigate the Jewish community properly and to ultimately make appropriate recommendations to ensure justice is achieved for victims/survivors of child sexual abuse and to ensure the safety of our children today and into the future.

Please share the above information with anyone you think may be interested.

Obviously there are costs to participate in the Inquiry – and for our work more broadly – so if you’re in a position to support us financially, please do so by clicking here. There are tax deductible options available in the US and in Israel. We’re currently working on an Australian option as well. Thank you in advance!

As always, I’ve shared below a range of relevant material.

On this Tisha b’Av, I’d like to share a Kinah from a survivor of child sexual abuse.

Warmest,

Manny Waks
Chief Executive Officer

Debbie Wiener is the former Chair of the now-defunct The Jewish Taskforce Against Family Violence. This organisation has caused damage to many in the Jewish community. It has recently come to my attention that Debbie is on the board of a new Jewish organisation that deals with another vulnerable group of people. I feel compelled to protect this group by sharing publicly relevant information.
Israel Police has recommended to charge Deputy Health Minister, Rabbi Yaakov Litzman, in the Malka Leifer case. Click: i24YnetThe Jerusalem PostThe Sydney Morning HeraldThe Jewish ChronicleJ-WireThe Australian Jewish News
In response to the latest sexual scandal involving Chabad, I wrote an oped titled Chabad – a law unto itself. Subsequently, there was a further allegation in the same case, which ultimately prompted the Chabad rabbi to resign from his Rabbinic post (but not as director).
Support our work
Some quotes from a 2008 article, soon after Adass purchased plane tickets for Malka Leifer to evade justice immediately after allegations of child sexual abuse were made against her:

[Adass spokesperson Norman] Rosenbaum said it was “categorically just not true” that the school purchased Leifer’s ticket to Israel after she resigned amid still unconfirmed rumours that she behaved inappropriately toward students.

He denied the school had tried to cover up allegations, and said “the school has not yet received any complaints”.

And a quote from a 2017 article:

The group then told Leifer she would be stood down as the head of the Adass school. But then, in a fateful decision, it was agreed that rather than report Leifer to the police, the principal should be spirited out of the country.

Rosenbaum was reportedly a part of the decision-making group.

All those at Adass who were involved in the cover-up in any way must be held to full account – for justice and to ensure the safety of children today.

The one-year look-back window for New York victims and survivors to sue their abusers or the institutions where the abuse took place commences on 14 August 2019. This was part of the New York Child Victims’ Act, which recently came into effect. We are proud to have been part of a broad coalition, over many years, who successfully lobbied for the archaic laws to change – in spite of fierce opposition from the Catholic Church, the ultra-Orthodox community and others. We encourage everyone who feels they can pursue some semblance of justice to do so. Please ensure to obtain proper legal advice. Click here for additional information.
More hypocrisy from David Werdiger…

Werdiger’s ‘thought of the week’ to members of JBD – Jews of the (Melbourne) CBD tells readers of Hasidic teachings about the power of words which can be used to ‘hurt and to deceive’. Werdiger is especially concerned about ’choos(ing) our words even more carefully’ when it comes to social media.

Yet an independent IT report has found that Werdiger, through Objectivewear Pty Ltd, a Company of which he was a Director and Shareholder, was behind the infamous anonymous blog site ‘The Fifth Chelek’ which was highlighted at the Australian Royal Commission for its anonymous attacks against victims of child sexual abuse, their families and supporters. This blog played a key role in the demonisation of victims/survivors and creating the culture that inspired it.

To date, Werdiger has failed to accept responsibility for his involvement with this blog. Nevertheless, he has continued to preach on the Jewish perspective of using words carefully, decried the fact that because of social media ‘things people have written years or decades ago (privately or publicly) are hauled out to haunt them’ and the closest he has come to an apology is ‘acknowledging that there are things that I have said or done in the past that I would not say or do now’. He has also sought to play a leadership role in reshaping the Constitution of the Yeshivah Centre, notwithstanding his role in the events which led to the Royal Commission and the restructuring of the Yeshivah Centre.

And to be clear, this was not Werdiger’s only infraction.

It’s important for victims/survivors to hold to account those who have wronged them, especially when they continue to preach shamelessly. It’s important to us for the public to know that Werdiger, among others, is a hypocrite.