OPINION: After ten years, justice – but why was it so difficult?

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

OPINION: After ten years, justice – but why was it so difficult?

Manny Waks, chief executive of Kol v’Oz, reflects on the long and drawn out process of securing Malka Leifer's extradition from Israel to Australia

Manny Waks
Manny Waks

It is more than a decade since Malka Leifer was helped to flee to Israel in the middle of the night amid allegations of child sexual abuse perpetrated against her students.

Leifer and her enablers hoped to avoid justice, and for the horrific allegations against her never to be heard in an Australian court, yet even they could not have foreseen the extent to which certain ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities in Israel and around the world would go to protect an accused paedophile, or how the failures of the Israeli justice system would help them in their quest.

For it to have taken 71 court hearings to get to this point is Israel’s shame. Having attended most of them, I’ve seen first-hand how unfair the Israeli judicial process is. This has taken a huge toll on Leifer’s alleged victims – one that was perfectly avoidable. It is vital that we get to the bottom of how this happened, including the role played by the ultra-Orthodox community and their political representatives, to make sure this shameful situation is never repeated.

Three sisters – Nicole, Dassi and Elly – have shown incredible courage over ten years, in a battle they should never have had to fight. While there may yet be a further appeal, we have now overcome the biggest hurdles and can look forward to Leifer’s extradition. We hope and trust that any remaining processes will be dealt with quickly, with Leifer back in Australia later this year.

We know that there are many more alleged victims out there and we encourage them to now come forward. If they need help, we are here for them.

Today is a great day for justice. It is a day which at times felt like it would never arrive, but we are thrilled that it is finally here.

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish News also produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: