Australia’s attorney general on Wednesday welcomed the news that alleged child sex abuser Malka Leifer lost an appeal in Israel’s Supreme Court to block her extradition to Australia.
Christian Porter called the decision a “significant milestone which should provide alleged victims some hope.”
“The decision of the Israel Supreme Court, dismissing Leifer’s appeal is welcome news, particularly for alleged victims in Australia,” Porter said in a statement.
Leifer, a former educator, is accused of sexually abusing several of her female students at the ultra-Orthodox Adass Israel School in Melbourne.
The 52-year-old Israeli citizen faces 74 charges of child sexual abuse for offences allegedly committed between 2004 and 2008, first when she was a teacher and then as the school’s headmistress.
Leifer “fled” to Israel in 2008 after allegations from former students emerged and she was subsequently suspended. She has been fighting extradition from Israel since 2014.
Israeli Justice Minister Avi Nissenkorn announced the ruling on Tuesday, saying he intended to sign the extradition order “without delay.”
Dassi Erlich, one of three sisters at the centre of the allegations, told ABC radio on Wednesday that after more than 70 court hearings over 12 years she is finally confident Leifer will soon be back in Australia.
“We expect to see her here in January and we will be counting down the days until that happens,” Erlich said.
“She will be coming back here and we will see a fair and just trial in Victoria.”
Leifer has denied the allegations and the battle over her extradition has strained relations between Israel and Australia.