Once again, Malka Leifer is out of the court’s custody, and the three and half year battle to extradite her to Australia to be tried for molesting children suffered another setback.
This time, two factors converged. The court gave the defense more time because the psychiatric report deeming her fit for extradition hearings is still not signed. Meanwhile, a prominent rabbi pleaded mercy for her and promised to assure she will not flee. So she was released into his custody, without even waiting for a ruling on the matter by a higher court.
The rabbi, Yitzchok Grossman has made a career of defending sex offenders on the lam.
Rabbi Eliezer Berland fled from Israel to Morocco, then to Holland and then to the Republic of South Africa (with a few other stops on the way). Grossman went to South Africa to plea for his release from custody due to hardships. Thankfully Berland was not released, did get extradited, and served jail time for rape.
Why the hell should the court defer to Grossman? Why the hell was the court not cracking down on the psychiatrist who still had not signed the report? Why the hell was the court oblivious to the likelihood that Leifer was faking mental illness over the last years?
By now, I am unable to believe that we are dealing with mere incompetence. I am inclined to believe that Leifer’s defenders in the Haredi establishment (particularly the Ger Hasidic movement) have influenced and corrupted this process.
Every major Australian newspaper is running stories about this shocking development. Israel needs a reputation for operating under the rule of law, and being a sanctuary for persecuted jews, not a get out of jail card for child rapists.
I know that Rabbi Yitzchak Dovid Grossman is an esteemed figure. But at this moment, I have nothing but contempt for him. But Grossman is merely a player. The fullest condemnation must fall on the Israeli court system. It failed, again.
Perhaps it will eventually succeed in at least conducting an extradition hearing over three years since it was requested, and a decade after Leifer first fled Australia. But right now it has lost the right to claim our respect. Perhaps they can partially redeem themselves. Let us hope so.