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Shocking school molestation case produces global political tug-of-war

 
We’ve been keeping an eye on a criminal case that has rocked two countries on opposite sides of the globe, but has not produced much of an impression here in the United States.

It involves the Ultra-Orthodox Jewish community in Australia, where a woman named Malka Leifer served as a school principal in Melbourne.

In 2013, Leifer was charged with 74 counts of child sexual assault, as it turned out she was alleged to be a rather prolific monster at abusing little girls. But somehow, despite the investigation and those charges, Leifer was allowed to go back to Israel, where the Ultra-Orthodox community has been fighting attempts to extradite her back to Australia to face trial.

Leifer’s supporters claimed that she was mentally ill and unfit to be extradited, and it’s alleged that Israel’s deputy minister of health, Yaakov Litzman, who is from the same Ultra-Orthodox community as Leifer, pressured a psychiatrist to change his diagnosis and agree that she shouldn’t be extradited.

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Now Litzman is under investigation by Israeli police for pressuring the psychiatrist, and Leifer’s fate is still being argued in Israeli courts, where there have already been 60 hearings on the matter.

Three of Leifer’s alleged victims who happen to be sisters, meanwhile, have emerged in the media for their willingness to speak openly about being molested, which is extremely rare in the Ultra-Orthodox community.

 
The Times of Israel reports today that over the weekend, the psychiatrist who was pressured by Litzman to change his report about Leifer will not be involved in selecting a new panel that will examine Leifer and make recommendations about her fate.

The case is disturbing, but it’s also fascinating for the way Israel’s justice system has been rocked by allegations of how much it is compromised by the political influence of the Ultra-Orthodox community on Benjamin Netanyahu’s government.

Will Leifer finally be extradited? We’re interested to find out.

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