‘I never imagined sitting in court, seeing my former principal in handcuffs’


February 14, 2018

By Ittay Flescher

AS A FORMER TEACHER at the Adass Israel school in Melbourne, I never imagined that a day would come when I would be sitting in a Jerusalem courtroom a metre away from the principal of the school with handcuffs around her hands and ankles.

Australia has been exerting pressure to extradite Malka Leifer following the college’s reprehensible behaviour in helping her flee to Israel ten years ago after allegations came to light that she had sexually abused a number of female students on school camps.

The 54-year-old resident of the West Bank settlement of Emmanuel is now wanted on 74 charges of child sexual abuse.

As I entered the tiny courtroom with no more than 30 seats, mostly filled with journalists, I was struck by the fact that the only Haredim in the court were the family and supporters of her campaign to avoid justice in Australia.

Seeing her sitting in the courtroom wearing a tichel (religious head covering) and traditionally modest clothing worn by Ultra-Orthodox women, I was reminded of the values and lifestyle that she had once tried to instil into girls at the school, and how many innocent childhoods she had destroyed in her failure to do so.

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