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Saturday, October 19, 2019 

Former Australian envoy says Leifer case is damaging ties with Israel

David Sharma, an Australian parliamentarian who'd worked as an ambassador to Israel, warns of the friction the stalling in the Malka Leifer case is causing between 2 countries:
Israel’s failure so far in extraditing alleged pedophile Malka Leifer to Australia is “doing damage to Israel’s reputation” and “increasingly becoming a point of contention and friction” in the Israel-Australia relationship, Australian MP David Sharma, a former ambassador to Jerusalem, told the Australian parliament. [...]

“I expected it would be a straightforward case, that the wheels of justice would turn and that within the space of 12 to 18 months, we would see Ms. Leifer extradited to Australia in order to face justice for these most grave and serious charges leveled against her,” he said. “But I regret to report that, in the five years that have since elapsed, we seem to be no closer to seeing this extradition request fulfilled. There have been upwards of 60 court hearings in this case in Israel and, yet, we are no closer to having Ms. Leifer extradited. This is not only an affront to justice but deeply traumatic for the victims of this abuse.”
What makes it particularly offensive is how, all because of Leifer's religious lifestyle, she's basically begin given the privileges a secular offender would be less likely to receive. Such elements are precisely why, besides state issues involving validity of an Israeli's right to live in Judea/Samaria, the justice system's been turned into a whole farce and seriously damaged where it was completely avoidable. Let's be clear. Haredis cannot be given privileged status any more than Islamists, or else damage is bound to ensue.
Sharma said that Leifer has ”continually used claims about her mental state to frustrate and delay attempts to extradite her,” and that “the willingness of the Israeli legal system to entertain these claims seems to take no consideration of the fragile mental state of Ms Leifer’s alleged victims and their legitimate desire to see justice served in this case.”

Sharma also said he hopes allegations against deputy health minister Yaakov Litzman for pressuring officials to prevent Leifer’s extradition are “fully and fearlessly investigated.”

“I do not doubt the independence and the integrity of the Israeli legal system, nor do I doubt the commitment of the Israeli Ministry of Justice to pursuing this case, but enough is enough,” Sharma said. “This case has gone on for far too long.”

The former envoy said that Israel should know that “at all levels this is an important case for Australia,” and that it is having an impact on bilateral relations and how Israel is being seen in the country. This case, he concluded, “is one that we will not let rest until we see Ms. Leifer extradited to face justice in Australia.”
Be assured, I for one provide my full backing to the victims and folks like Sharma, and I additionally hope Litzman pays a serious price for his meddling. The government would do well to take steps bypassing the court and sign off on an order to extradite her. For now, the court had better prove they're serious about ensuring Leifer's extradited and practically banished from Israel for her crimes.

Update: Australian premier Scott Morrison's also weighed in on the issue, and he met with the victims.

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About me

  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
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