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Israeli court ruling clears way for extradition of alleged child sex abuser

“OMG!!!” she wrote. “Too many emotions to process!!!”

A press conference will be held on Wednesday morning with former Liberal Premier Ted Baillieu, who has been involved in the matter, and local Jewish MPs Labor’s Josh Burns and Liberal David Southwick, according to Ms Elrich.

Nicole Meyer and Dassi Erlich, alleged victims of Malka Leifer.

Nicole Meyer and Dassi Erlich, alleged victims of Malka Leifer.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

Ms Leifer, 52, is facing extradition to Australia on 74 charges of sexually assaulting female students during her time at the ultra-Orthodox Adass Israel school in Elsternwick in Melbourne’s south-east.

The ex-principal fled to Israel in 2008 after the allegations first emerged. The process to extradite her has stalled several times since charges were laid in 2013.

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Premier Daniel Andrews met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 2018 telling him the only just outcome was for Ms Leifer to face a jury of her peers.

Adass Israel Girls School in Melbourne was ordered to pay more than $1.1 million in damages to Ms Leifer’s alleged victims in 2015.

In 2016, an Israeli judge found Ms Leifer mentally unfit to face extradition to Australia and she was set free.

But she was arrested in February last year after an undercover police investigation revealed she was leading a “normal life” and going about normal daily activities in the ultra-Orthodox settlement of Emmanuel.

The legal wrangle to bring her before an Australian court has caused a diplomatic strain between the allies.

Australian Attorney-General Christian Porter released a statement on Tuesday night welcoming the Israeli court’s decision.

“Whilst today’s decision can be appealed, it is a positive sign and means that formal extradition proceedings can now lawfully commence, subject to any orders relevant to any possible appeal,” Mr Porter said.

“At this time, the thoughts of the Australian Government are very much with alleged victims and hopefully this positive development will give them some confidence that proceedings in Israel are moving towards their aim of seeing proceedings commence in Australia within the Australian justice system.”

The Attorney-General said that he respected Israel’s judicial processes and that, given today’s judgment could be the subject of an appeal, it would not be appropriate to comment further.

Leifer’s lawyers had challenged a finding by a psychiatric panel that she was fit to stand trial.

Her accusers expect the latest decision to clear the way for a quick extradition to Australia.

AP

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