The Torah calls on us to be a “light unto the nations.” But Israel is an escape destination for diaspora molesters. They come from the US, the UK, Holland, and Australia. They come on last minute flights as cops are closing in. They come on visitor visas and they come as planned olim under the Law of Return. Most of them get the welcome mat.
Mighty Israel can defeat neighbors. Stealthy Israel can assassinate enemies. Brainy Israel can desalinate oceans. Avenging Israel can bring Nazis to justice. But when faced with the justice cries of molested Jewish children, Shimshon Hagibor (Samson the mighty) turns into Shimshon the Nebbish, a hapless, bureaucratically obtuse gaggle of keystone cops.
How could Malka Leifer, a serial child molester facing 74 charges of child sexual abuse in Australia, still be dodging Australia’s 2013 extradition request by faking mental illness?
The answer is negligence if not worse. Leifer showed up for mandated evaluations impersonating a sack of potatoes schlepped in by attendants who claimed she was dependent on them for the most elementary activities of daily life. Nobody thought to check out her actual life where she carried on just fine, first in Bnai Brak and then the West Bank settlement community of Emanuel. Her neighbors saw an active community member, not an incapacitated invalid. There was even photographic evidence of her participation in the May 2017 Lag B’Omer celebrations in Meron.
Meanwhile, the extradition court and prosecutors kept allowing her defense to claim she was unable to appear for extradition hearings because of her illness.
When the palace paladins kept failing, salvation came from outside. The anti-abuse, not-for-profit, Jewish Community Watch, hired private investigators to video her public activities during Chanukah 2017. They caught her shopping, doing laundry and spending hours on the phone while pacing on her balcony. When this was presented to government officials, they finally got off their tuchis, conducted their own similar investigation, and charged her with obstruction of justice, fabricating evidence, and impersonation. This will likely culminate in her extradition.
But why wasn’t the government ever concerned enough to consider this possibility early on? Leifer’s victims could have been spared the anguish, and justice could have been spared the mockery.
Now the government owes Leifer’s victims fastracking of the judicial and extradition process. That is the least they can do by way of amends. But there is more.
They could establish a sex offender registry, so residents can know which of their neighbors were convicted in Israel or abroad, instead of having to depend on blogs, Tweets and Google.
Israel could enforce its basic law and deny entry to persons who constitute a public danger.
Israel could succeed in carrying out arrests of folks for whom extradition requests were made, such as Gershon Kranczer and his blind son, Asher, who avoided arrest in NY in 2010 on charges of raping several female relatives by hopping a flight to Israel. How hard can it be to find a Haredi duo where one is blind? If the Brooklyn DA is not pursuing extradition, they could publicize the lapse to up the pressure in the US.
It is time for Israel to be a light unto the nations, a defender of children, instead of a blight on the Jewish world as a haven for molesters.