Israel Extradites Teacher Accused of Abuse in Australia, Reports Say
Malka Leifer, who fled to Israel, faces 74 counts of sexual abuse related to her tenure as a principal at a Jewish girls’ school in Melbourne.
JERUSALEM — An Israeli woman accused of sexually abusing students at an Australian school where she was the principal has been extradited from Israel, according to reports in the Israeli news media, concluding a seven-year deportation process that had tested relations between the two countries.
Malka Leifer, 54, is accused of 74 counts of rape and sexual abuse that investigators say took place between 2004 and 2008, when she was the principal of a Jewish girls’ school in Melbourne.
Australian officials formally sought her extradition in 2014, but the process was repeatedly delayed after Ms. Leifer’s legal team at the time argued that she was mentally unfit to stand trial.
Photographs published Monday on an Israeli news website, Ynet, showed Ms. Leifer being escorted aboard a plane in Tel Aviv on Sunday night.
Ms. Leifer’s lawyer, Nick Kaufman, said he had not received official confirmation that she had been deported but had been told she would be sent to Australia this week.
Officials at the Israeli foreign and justice ministries, state attorney’s office, police force and prison service declined to comment, as did the Australian attorney-general’s office.
Ms. Leifer, an Israeli citizen, moved in 2001 to Australia, where she later became the principal of Adass Israel, a school for ultra-Orthodox Jewish girls, and then fled to Israel in 2008 after details of the assault allegations emerged.
The sluggish pace of the deportation process drew occasional criticism from Australian lawmakers. The case also embroiled an ultra-Orthodox Israeli government minister from the same sect as Ms. Leifer, Yaakov Litzman, after the Israeli police accused him of pressuring psychiatrists to report that Ms. Leifer was not well enough to be tried.
To continue reading, click here.