Malka Leifer allegedly molested and raped a string of girls while principal at the haredi Adass Israel School in Melbourne, Australia. She fled to Israel after one of the girls complained about the alleged abuse and is now fighting extradition. But despite the number of alleged victims, top haredi rabbis are sheltering Leifer and helping her, and one of the haredi rabbis justified the abuse as a means to keep the girls from leaving the haredi community entirely, as if having sex with Leifer would keep them frum. “Perhaps that wasn’t the right method to choose; there is a very thin line between ‘kosher’ and ‘non-kosher’ educational methods," the rabbi said.
Above: Malka Leifer
The Herald Sun reports:
A fugitive school principal accused of molesting and raping students at an ultra-orthodox Jewish school has no plan to return to Melbourne.
Authorities are seeking to extradite Malka Leifer from Israel. But she has made it clear to family and friends that she will do everything she can to avoid ever facing her accusers. And she has the support of leaders of an ultra-orthodox community harbouring her in Israel and who say she has done nothing wrong.
The mother of eight has been accused of molesting a string of girls, including three sisters, while principal at Adass Israel School in Elsternwick.
Two of them, suing Ms Leifer and the school, told the Supreme Court in May she explained the abuse as preparation for marriage.
One said she had been too fearful to complain because of Ms Leifer’s power in the ultraorthodox community.
It is understood Ms Leifer could face dozens of charges of indecent assault and rape if she ever returns to Melbourne. She fled in March 2008, with the help of school officials, hours after the school committee learned of the accusations.
Ms Leifer was arrested in September, pending extradition hearings. She was under house arrest: reportedly, at first in Migdal HaEmek (about an hour north of Emmanuel, where she had lived), and then in Bnei Brak, an ultra-orthodox city near Tel Aviv.
Emmanuel [chief] rabbi Yitzhak Meir Bar Lev said the senior rabbi had instructed locals to accept the family.
Molesting a child was no less than murder and should be reported, but his “sources” told him the charges fell short of serious misconduct, he said.
“If the allegations are true, it was only because she was trying to bring these girls in, trying to prevent them from destroying their lives (by leaving ultra-orthodoxy),” he said.
“The girls’ behaviour had passed the point where they could have been ‘saved’ with mere words,” he said.
“Perhaps that wasn’t the right method to choose; there is a very thin line between ‘kosher’ and ‘non-kosher’ educational methods.
"But I can tell you her actions were only motivated by a positive educational precept.
“She was right to try to bring them in — they’d crossed a lot of borders in the other direction. She had only the best intentions,” the rabbi said.
One source said Ms Leifer had been the victim of an attempt to blacken her family and the orthodox community.
Asked how she now spent her days, he said: “She cries, prays, and hopes for the best. “What else can a Jew do?”