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.

To continue reading, click here.

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.”
To continue reading click here.
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

Delays, Delays, Delays… Malka Leifer, Judge Lomp Do you Think Her Victims Get to Delay Their Nightmares?

Malka Leifer in court in May 2018.

Court orders new psych report for accused child sex abuser Malka Leifer

Jerusalem The Jerusalem District Court has ruled that a new psychiatric report is needed to assess if former Melbourne school principal Malka Leifer is fit to face an extradition trial over child sex abuse allegations.

Judge Chana Miriam Lomp on Monday presented a distant deadline of December 10 for the new assessment to be filed by three psychiatrists, in order for the court to decide if Leifer is truly mentally unfit, or faking her illness.Now at hearing 57, the case to try and bring the former principal of the Ultra- Orthodox Adass Israel school in Elsternwick in Melbourne’s south-east back to Australia to face 74 charges of rape and child sex abuse has met countless delays.

Judge Lomp in court said the evidence she had seen hadn’t reached a significant benchmark to automatically state that Leifer had been feigning her illness and therefore was fit enough to face justice.

Manny Waks, chief executive officer of the child sex abuse prevention group Kol v’Oz, said after the hearing that the decision was the “worst-case scenario”.

“It leaves the entire case in limbo and it’s just prolonging the pain and suffering to Leifer’s alleged victims,” Waks said.

Dassi Erlich, one of the survivors of Leifer’s alleged abuse who has been fighting to bring Leifer back to Australia for eight years, said the ruling left her feeling defeated.

In five years of court hearings, 30 psychiatrists have already been involved in determining if Leifer is fit to face extradition trial.

“How is this not enough? How many more psychiatrists need to weigh in? How much more emotional pain?,” Erlich said after the hearing.

“We are defeated but we will not give up.”Erlich and her two sisters intended to travel to Israel from Melbourne for the court hearing but cancelled their plans due to the continual and exhausting delays in the justice system.”We’ve decided to push off our trip to Israel and reserve our energy until there is more certainty regarding next steps in this long process,” Erlich announced earlier in the month.

Allegations of child sex abuse were first raised against Leifer in 2008.

The continual delays in court and the findings that Israel’s Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman acted to have medical assessments altered in Leifer’s favour has raised question marks around Israel’s judiciary.

To continue reading click here.

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.

To continue reading click here.

With Resentment Jew Against Jew…The Upcoming Israel Vote and Similarities to Counties in NY and NJ

merlin_160428186_f94690ea-0d13-43d9-98b5-e65a90c0e888-articleLarge

CreditCreditSergey Ponomarev for The New York Times

How Jewish Should the Jewish State Be? The Question Shadows an Israeli Vote

JERUSALEM — For years, the resentment had been building.

In Israel, Jewish men and women are drafted into the military, but the ultra-Orthodox are largely exempt. Unlike other Israelis, many ultra-Orthodox receive state subsidies to study the Torah and raise large families.

And in a country that calls itself home to all Jews, ultra-Orthodox rabbis have a state-sanctioned monopoly on events like marriage, divorce and religious conversions.

A series of political twists has suddenly jolted these issues to the fore, and the country’s long-simmering secular-religious divide has become a central issue in the national election on Tuesday.

In a country buffeted by a festering conflict with the Palestinians, increasingly open warfare with Iran and a prime minister facing indictment on corruption charges, the election has been surprisingly preoccupied with the question of just how Jewish — and whose idea of Jewish — the Jewish state should be.

“I have nothing against the ultra-Orthodox, but they should get what they deserve according to their size,” said Lior Amiel, 49, a businessman who was out shopping in Ramat Hasharon. “Currently, I’m funding their lifestyle.”

This election was supposed to be a simple do-over, a quick retake to give Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a second chance to form a government and his opponents another shot at running him out of office.

Instead it has become what Yohanan Plesner, president of the nonpartisan Israel Democracy Institute, calls “a critical campaign for the trajectory of the country.”

Blame Avigdor Lieberman, the right-wing secular politician who forced the new election by refusing to join Mr. Netanyahu’s coalition with the ultra-Orthodox. The hill Mr. Lieberman chose to fight on was a new law that would eliminate the wholesale exemptions for ultra-Orthodox men to serve in the military.

Ultra-Orthodox lawmakers wanted to water it down. Mr. Lieberman refused to compromise.

It may have been a ploy to grab attention, but it struck a nerve. Almost overnight, Mr. Lieberman’s support doubled, and he became an unlikely hero to liberals.

For years, says Jason Pearlman, a veteran right-wing political operative, the two main axes of Israeli politics, religion and the Palestinians, had been “zip-tied” together. Mr. Netanyahu’s longtime coalition was just such a merger — right-wing voters, who favored a hard line toward the Palestinians, and the ultra-Orthodox, who promised a bloc vote in exchange for concessions on religious issues.

“What Lieberman did was to snap those zip-ties, popping the axes back apart,” Mr. Pearlman said.

Secular and liberal leaders from the left and center responded by effectively joining forces with the right-wing Mr. Lieberman against the prime minister’s ultra-Orthodox and religious-nationalist allies.

These rebels say that the mushrooming ultra-Orthodox population, with its unemployed religious students and large families subsidized by the state, is imposing excessive fiscal and social burdens on other Israelis. They are demanding more pluralistic options for marriages and conversions.

They were appalled that the ultrareligious parties were willing to grant Mr. Netanyahu immunity from prosecution, arguing that Mr. Netanyahu was buying his way out of jail by allowing Israel to be turned into a theocracy.

And they are furious at the growing influence of a quasi-evangelistic group of religious-nationalist Jews who espouse anti-feminist, anti-gay views and a far-right, messianic ideology.

“It’s becoming more and more alarming,” said Nitzan Horowitz, leader of the left-wing Democratic Union party. “People are starting to feel threatened.”

The ultra-Orthodox parties insist that they are simply defending a status quo that dates to Israel’s founding and is meant to preserve study of the Torah by its most pious devotees. A compromise with Israel’s then-fledgling religious community gave Orthodox rabbis control over family and dietary laws, among other things, in exchange for their support for the new state.

The ultra-Orthodox now make up only 10 percent of eligible Jewish voters, Israeli pollsters say — compared with 44 percent who consider themselves secular — but they have kept and added to those concessions thanks to their ability to extract promises in exchange for their political support.

“We’re not becoming a smaller minority, we’re becoming a larger minority,” said Yitzhak Zeev Pindrus, a lawmaker from the ultra-Orthodox party United Torah Judaism. “But we’re trying to keep it the same way it is.”

The religious-nationalists dismiss the criticism of their intentions as anti-Semitic self-loathing.

“They’re on a hate campaign against anything that has a Jewish aroma to it,” said Eytan Fuld, a spokesman for the right-wing Yamina party.

 

To continue reading in The New York Times, click here.

 

What Could Become of Israel if the Ultra-Orthodox Parties Win Additional Knesset Seats and a Dystopic View in TV

The cast of Autonomies.

Israeli TV show puts wall between secular and ultra-Orthodox Jews

‘This is the reality that currently exists in Israel,’ says the creator of Autonomies

War rages in the heart of the Middle East. Jerusalem is captured. Concrete walls go up, and a deep distrust spreads across the holy land.

The well-worn tale is used as the backdrop to multiple Israeli television dramas. Yet for one show, it is not Arabs and Jews who are doing the fighting, but Jews and Jews.

Currently touring film festivals across the world, the six-part series Autonomies envisions a clash between secular Jews and the deeply religious ultra-Orthodox, or Haredi, Jews.

In this vision, set in the near future, civil war has cut the land into two countries. The coastal State of Israel is nonreligious, with the cosmopolitan city of Tel Aviv as its capital. Jerusalem is a walled, autonomous city-state, run by Haredi rabbis.

At first glance dystopian, the show is in fact an artistic extrapolation of real-life rifts in Israeli society. Many Israelis increasingly see secular-Haredi disaccord about the future of the state as a greater concern than the Palestinian issue, and fear it could tear the country apart from the inside.

Earlier this year, disagreements between secular and religious politicians shattered attempts to form a coalition government and dragged the country into a second round of elections. On 17 September, Israelis will go back to the polls following a campaign in which political parties have sought to exploit internal animosity.

Yehonatan Indursky, an Israeli filmmaker who wrote Autonomies with the writer Ori Elon, says the show takes divisions in Israel “to extremes, and tries to show what can happen if we do not wake up and try to find the way to live together and respect one another’s way of life”.

The drama’s protagonist, Broide (played by Assi Cohen), is a Haredi man who moves contraband, smuggling pornography and books banned by the religious authorities into Jerusalem. He is one of a few who crosses between the two sides and is soon caught up in a controversy that could reignite the war.

Yehonatan Indursky.

 The Israeli filmmaker Yehonatan Indursky, pictured, wrote the show with the writer Ori Elon. Photograph: Dpa Picture Alliance/Alamy Stock Photo

 

 

 

The series comes off the back of the writers’ hit Netflix show Shtisel, which received acclaim for sensitively and lovingly portraying Haredi family life, and has been renewed for a third season. Autonomies instead paints a much bleaker scene.

“Autonomies gives a kick in the stomach. And sometimes it is painful and hard to watch,” Indursky said.

What is fascinating for many viewers is how similar the setting of Autonomies appears. Israelis today lament a nation already divided, with the Haredim often living in their own neighbourhoods, women covering their hair with wigs and men wearing black coats and hats.

To secular outcries, ultra-Orthodox politicians have sought to ban public transport and other activities on the Jewish holy day of rest, and outlaw non-kosher food in supermarket chains. They feel their way of life is under threat.

Meanwhile, resentment against them focuses on hefty government stipends given to the community, as many men do not work but study religious texts. Almost half live in poverty.

Indursky grew up in an ultra-Orthodox family in Jerusalem but has not been part of the community for years, although he keeps close links with family and friends. He said he had received two main responses from Israelis to the series, both of which saddened him.

“One possible answer is that this is really not a dystopia but rather a utopia,” he said, adding some viewers backed the idea of separate countries to end seemingly irreconcilable differences.

“The second possible answer is that this is not a dystopia – this is the reality that currently exists in Israel. And in a way, that’s part of what we wanted to show through the series.”

The fissure between secular and ultra-Orthodox communities has already spiralled to the point that it ignited a political crisis this year.

TO CONTINUE READING CLICK HERE.