Breaking- Judge Rules Malka Leifer Is Mentally Fit for Extradition Hearing on Sexual Abuse Allegations

The Times of Israel reports the judicial ruling that Malka Leifer is mentally fit to face an extradition hearing which is scheduled for July 20, 2020.  Leifer stands accused in Australia of sexually abusing 3 sisters when she was principal of the Adaas girls high school in Melbourne. Just as the allegations got known the Adass board shipped her out on an early morning flight to Israel where she has since dodged extradition requests by faking mental illness. Israel’s anti abuse advocate, Shana Aaronson together with colleagues, hired a private investigator who documented a well functioning Leifer going about all sorts of tasks in spite of claims she could not do any of those. The other party to the fraud was the then Health Minister, Yaakov Litzman who acting on the behest of the Ger/Gur Hasidic group, exerted pressure on psychologists to go along with a false diagnosis of incapacity. Litzman is now being investigated for corruption in connection with this fraud.  (He is still in the government but now heads the housing ministry).

Today on the 67th hearing, years after Australia requested her extradition, the court finally ruled that Leifer is mentally competent enough to participate in an extradition hearing which has been scheduled for July 20th. We can only hope that this exhausting travesty of delays ends soon and Leifer is finally in the docket in Australia.

Kudos to the 3 brave sisters who have endured much, first at the hands of Leifer and the board who protected her and then at the hands of corruption by the Israel Health Minister and the Israeli Judicial system. Thanks to them, who have borne the heaviest burden of all, we may well finally see justice.


10 thoughts on “Breaking- Judge Rules Malka Leifer Is Mentally Fit for Extradition Hearing on Sexual Abuse Allegations

  1. Assuming Leifer is who I think she is: She was sexually abused by her yeshiva brother as a child. Her parents did nothing. She was psychologically damaged, and spent her adult life in-and-out of psych hospitals, while her brother got smicha, married, and went on to have a wonderful life. The pain tore her apart.

    Her sex offender brother created yet another sex offender. The charedi community abuse legacy continues.

    • This is not specific to chareidi communities . It’s sex abuse. It happens in a llkind soft cultured and communities. Period. Do not demonize a whole community that is so full of amazing and a excellent people bc of the problems these specific human beings have. It’s incorrect. Yes they have there issues. It’s true. Yes there are stigmas. But it’s not specific to them. Get the hat straight.

        • Leah is a tad over defensive. I wonder why? Is there a problem or not? And do they want to deal with it? I believe that’s a Yes and No.

      • Hi Leah,

        I was part of the charedi community and taught in various yeshivos for decades, and so am unfortunately quite familiar with this issue.

        Yes, there are many wonderful people in the charedi world, but their goodness does not absolve the community for its collective failure to prosecute perpetrators of childhood sexual abuse, or its collective guilt regarding the marginalization and further abuse of child victims.

        While you are certainly correct that sexual abuse of children happens in communities, religious and otherwise, all over the world, there is a certain abuse legacy the charedim embrace that does not exist elsewhere.

        At least in the U.S., where I live, no other group marginalizes child victims, expels them and their siblings from their parochial schools, throws the fathers of victims out of their churches, burns down the homes of child victims, throws bleach in the face of victim advocates, or shoots at advocates. All of these further abuses, performed by charedi communities in Monsey, NY, Lakewood, and Baltimore, are exclusive to the Jewish charedi community.

        So, yes, unfortunately, the charedi have a terrible legacy regarding this particular issue.

        And, I know all of this first-hand.

        I hate to talk about this topic as much as anyone, but I must admit that, if we are to force positive change on the charedi community regarding child sexual abuse, all of this needs to come out in public. Hiding the truth isn’t helping our kids or the community at large. “The only way ‘out’ is ‘through’.”

    • Ben, I’m… cautious that this Malka Leifer is the same person as “who you think (she) is”. I’ll tell you why:

      The key pillar, so far, in Leifer’s attempts to dodge extradition, has been her (supposed) mental health issues.

      To my knowledge, at NO point has Yehudah Fried (her lawyer) presented ANY evidence that Malka Leifer EVER sought psychiatric or psychological treatment PRIOR to her fleeing to Israel, and ultimately being arrested. IF she had indeed been “inand out of psychiatric hospitals” throughout her life (such as back when she was in Australia, or whislt in Israel a decade ago before moving to Australia), I feel pretty confident that her lawyer would have presented evidence of such treatment as a PRIME exhibit.that she is truly mentally ill. To my knowledge, no such evidence was ever presented to the court (correct me if I’m wrong on this point).

      Your story, sadly, is all too common, and all too believable. But I’m cautious that this Malka Leifer is the victim in question.

      • Malka’s legal and rabbinical advocates, supposedly armed with many long-term psychiatric reports, claim she is mentally incompetant – too mentally ill to appear in court, let alone face charges. And the documentaton they provided to the Israeli courts was substantial enough to allow her to escape justice to this point.

        Such a claim, at least in the US, cannot stand without documentation of multiple psychiatric hospitalizations (which generally cannot occur unless the patient is assumed to be at least temporarily mentally incompetant) and/or the formal adjudication of mental incompetance by a court of law.

        Would her lawyer openly and publicly state that she has been hospitalized many times and formally adjudicated mentally incompetant? Seems those disclosures would violate his client’s right to privacy.

        Those of us with training in psychology recognize the rhetoric of her lawyer as indicating multiple psych hospitalizations over many years, and a possible if not probable adjudication of mental incompetance.

        • Let me just add: Here in the US, we are used to relative transparency in court public reports, and so we expect the Israeli courts to release Malka’s psych history to us, but that general US policy does not reflect world-wide policies.

          In many other countries, defendents have a right to extreme privacy. For example, Swedish friends tell me that their media is prohibited from releasing even
          the names of known murderers, no matter whether the articles are written pre- or post-trial.

          So, while I do not know Israeli law, I am careful not to assume Israeli court transparency, especially given mental health issues.

          One must remember that, if Malka is eventually acquitted, media revelations of decades of psychiatric admits and an adjudication of mental incompetancy would preclude future employment and positive social relations. I imagine they are cautious regarding such disclosures.

        • US courts certainly consider hospitalizations in assesing competency to stand trial, but it is not a requirement.

          The argument in the courts, (most of which was quite public) centered on her actual functioning during the period following the initiation of extradition proceedings. The description of dysfunction included inability to get around or do tasks without a helper. The videos produced by JCW-Israel, thtrough their director, Shana Aaronson, and then by Israeli police conclusively demonstrated the opposite. They showed a woman actively moving about and doing all sorts of activities on her own, with normal affect and capacity. In general, current functioning, not past history is the critical test. So I do not believe the possibility of past history would change her actual or legal capacity for going trhough with extradition proceedings.

          • It is true that compentancy to stand trial swings upon the competancy of the defendent in the immediate present. However, lacking the sort of videos presented of late in the Leifer case, all justifications of compentance or incompetance would be wholely dependent upon the examinations of a mental health professional in an artificial environment: an office, in which Leifer could present however it suited her.

            If she were to present incompentant, and her supporters presented years of inpatient psych evaluations or documents of adjudication of incompetancy at some point in the past to support her presentation, the mental health professional examining her would accept her claim.

            Psychosis is easy to feign. A clinical psychologist friend was a subject of the famous Rosenhan experiment, conducted to determine the validity of psych diagnoses at various psych clinics. All of the experimenters (psychologists and one historian) presented normally at a psych intake but feigned hallucinations in the prior week. In every case, they were diagnosed with a psychotic disorder, admitted to an inpatient psych unit, and given antipsychotics. All were kept inpatient for weeks, sometimes months. In my friend’s case, he could not manage to convince the psychiatrist he was sane, and in the end finally managed to escape the hospital by calling his primary investigator for help.*

            Psychiatrists believe what they want to believe.

            On Being Sane in Insane Places article=2384&context=lawreview

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