Israeli Court Rejects Malka Leifer's Appeal Against New Psych Panel to Examine Her

Accused of the sexual assault and rape of three Australian sisters, Leifer will undergo testing by a panel of psychiatrists to see if she is mentally fit to stand trial

Malka Leifer is escorted by police into a Jerusalem courtroom, March 8, 2018.
Olivier Fitoussi

Israel's High Court rejected on Tuesday accused pedophile Malka Leifer's appeal against the decision to assemble a team of experts who are set to determine whether she is fit to stand trial. She is expected to undergo testing Wednesday by the court-appointed panel of psychiatrists.

Leifer, an Israeli citizen who headed an all-girls ultra-Orthodox school in Melbourne, Australia, is accused of the rape and sexual assault of sisters Dassi Erlich, Nicole Meyer and Elly Sapper. Hours after the charges were published in 2008 she fled to Israel, and in 2014 Australia asked for her extradition

Since 2014, the battle over extraditing Leifer has taken place on all fronts – in the courts, in the media and in the health care community. The question, being battled over by attorneys, media advisers and ultra-Orthodox activists, is whether Leifer is psychologically capable of being extradited. Her attorneys claim that she is mentally unfit to stand trial, but psychiatrists ruled last year that she is not. 

In Early October, the Jerusalem District Court decided to appoint a panel of experts to determine whether the ex-headmistress, who is facing extradition to Australia, is fit to stand trial and sent back to the country.

The panel will be tasked with determining “whether she is mentally ill, or feigning illness," Jerusalem District Court Judge Chana Miriam Lomp ruled. Psychiatrists looking into the matter have submitted differing opinions during the decade-long proceedings marred with accusations of political influence.