I was pleased to be able to meet Israel’s President, His Excellency Reuven Ruvi Rivlin, this morning with Labor’s Leader Anthony Albanese, Deputy Leader Richard Marles MP; and Shadow Foreign Minister Penny Wong.
I raised the issue of the extradition of Malka Leifer with President Rivlin on behalf of my constituents, particularly Dassi Erlich; Beyond a Survivor, Nicole Meyer and Elly Sapper.
I was pleased that President Rivlin advised me that if hearings scheduled this week do not see this matter progress towards Malka Leifer being extradited to Australia, he will personally meet with the Chief Justice of Israel to discuss how this matter can be expedited.
This matter has dragged on far too long. These victims deserve justice and I will continue to fight until Malka Leifer is back in Australia facing trial.
More on the visit from The Age below
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Israel’s President to take up Malka Leifer extradition case
Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin has told Australian MPs he will take up the extradition case of alleged child abuser Malka Leifer with his country’s Chief Justice if no progress is made during court hearings this week.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Labor MP Josh Burns on Wednesday put the case directly to Mr Rivlin to extradite the the former principal of the Adass Israel ultra-Orthodox Jewish school in Melbourne.
In what was described as a warm encounter in Canberra, Mr Morrison and the Israeli head of state discussed Australia’s strong commitment to seeing justice in the case of Ms Leifer.
Ms Leifer, 52, faces charges on 74 counts of sexual assault in Victoria related to accusations by three sisters who say they were abused while she was a teacher and principal at the school.
Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese, deputy Labor leader Richard Marles, foreign affairs spokeswoman Penny Wong and Mr Burns also met with the Israeli President.
Mr Burns said he raised the issue of the extradition of Ms Leifer with Mr Rivlin on behalf of his constituents and alleged victims.
Two women allegedly abused by former principal Malka Leifer want Scott Morrison to do more to get her extradited from Israel to Australia to face 74 charges.
“I was pleased that President Rivlin advised me that if hearings scheduled this week do not see this matter progress towards Malka Leifer being extradited to Australia, he will personally meet with the Chief Justice of Israel to discuss how this matter can be expedited,” Mr Burns said.
“This matter has dragged on far too long. These victims deserve justice and I will continue to fight until Malka Leifer is back in Australia facing trial.”
Since extradition proceedings were first brought by Australia six years ago, there have been more than 60 court hearings and the case still has not moved to the formal extradition phase.
The case was adjourned last month to allow defence lawyers to prepare their cross-examination of a panel of psychiatrists who declared she was fit for extradition in January this year.
Ms Leifer fled Australia in 2008 after facing serious accusations that would result in 74 charges of sexual assault being filed against her by Victoria Police.
Australia has been requesting her extradition since she was arrested in 2014.
Alleged victim Dassi Erlich said she had asked to meet with Mr Rivlin but he had declined to take up the invitation.
In the earlier meeting between Mr Morrison and Mr Rivlin, the two talked about their nations’ responses to the coronavirus outbreak. Israel has recorded only two cases of the virus, but there are fears about an outbreak in nearby Iran.
Mr Morrison and Mr Rivlin stressed the importance of defence and security co-operation, deepening science and technology links, and the long friendship and enduring people-to-people ties between Australia and Israel.
“Australia and Israel have a great friendship, and it’s a friendship between peoples, [it’s a] friendship that has been born out of deep respect and empathy for the struggles that Israel has faced,” Mr Morrison said.
“Our position has been very strong when it comes to defending the great democracy that is the
state of Israel … a beacon in an area where democracy is something that is not as widespread.”