Three sisters who were allegedly abused by the former principal of an ultra-orthodox Jewish school in Melbourne have missed out on facing their accused abuser in court.
Dassi Erlich, and her sisters, Nicole Meyer and Elly Sapper, travelled more than 13,000km for the court hearing in Israel, however a last-ditch ruling by the judge excused Malka Leifer from appearing on the grounds it could be detrimental to her mental health.
The alleged victims were still allowed to sit in court for the hearing, which was to determine whether Leifer is mentally fit enough to be extradited to Australia.
Three sisters allegedly abused by former principal Malka Leifer travelled to Israel to attend a Jerusalem court hearing about her possible extradition to Australia. (9NEWS)
“It’s been very intense sitting in there,” Ms Erlich told 9News.
“Now we’re here and we see the ups and downs, and it’s incredibly difficult to watch that, and just hope and have faith that the judge will come to the right decision.”
The women could only listen and observe while a psychiatrist was questioned.
Leifer, a mother of eight, fled Australia for Israel in 2008 after being tipped off about the allegations against her. (AAP)
“We have no voice,” Ms Meyer said.
“We’ve got to be completely silent and that is the most difficult thing in there.”
Leifer, a mother of eight, fled Australia for Israel in 2008, after being tipped off about the allegations.
Leifer’s defence lawyers are now arguing she is mentally unfit to be extradited back to Australia to face court over the accusations. (9NEWS)
She has battled extradition since 2014 when she was charged with 74 child sex offences.
Leifer’s lawyers argue she is too mentally ill to be extradited.
However, after a private investigator recorded video footage of Leifer walking, shopping and interacting with people, opinion in Israel is changing.
The former principal faces eight charges of alleged child abuse. (AAP)
Both a member of Israel’s Parliament, the Knesset, and a Jerusalem city councillor were at court to observe proceedings and support the alleged victims.
“If she’s got nothing, if she wants to clear her name…if she’s not guilty…then why not go back and clear her name?” Fleur Hassan-Nahoum, a city councillor, said.
Leifer’s brother, sister and one of her adult children were also at court today.
Leifer did not appear in the court today, and the case is set to return in a hearing in January. (9NEWS)
They made no comment.
No judgement has yet been made about whether Leifer is mentally fit for extradition, and the case will return to court again in January.
It will be the former principal’s 43rd court date in Israel – and there’s still no sign of a quick resolution.