'A great day for justice'

Malka Leifer verdict: the reactions

'This is a mighty vindication for Dassi Erlich, Nicole Meyer and Elly Sapper in their long, courageous struggle for justice'

Malka Leifer (right) being brought to a courtroom in Jerusalem in 2018. Photo: AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean, File
Malka Leifer (right) being brought to a courtroom in Jerusalem in 2018. Photo: AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean, File

“To get to this moment is absolutely overwhelming … it was so unbelievable that we’d get to this time and we have – she is guilty.”
Dassi Erlich, Complainant

“It was frightening but at the same time we were able to stand strong and look at each other and look at her, and say ‘she abused us’. It’s time to start looking forward instead of looking back. This is the beginning of our future now.”
Elly Sapper, Complainant

“Yes it’s bittersweet, but she is guilty … I believe in myself. My sisters believe in me.”
Nicole Meyer, Complainant

From left: Nicole Meyer, Elly Sapper, and Dassi Erlich leave after speaking to media outside the County Court of Victoria on Monday afternoon. Photo: AAP Image/Joel Carrett

“We are sorry for the distress they have suffered and the impact of that abuse on their lives and families. We commend the survivors’ bravery in coming forward.”
Aaron Strasser, Principal, Adass Israel School

“More than 13 years elapsed from the time that Malka Leifer was spirited out of Australia, until the time she was forced to return following her extradition in January 2021. It has taken less than two years for an Australian court to find her guilty of multiple sexual abuse offences. This is a mighty vindication for Dassi Erlich, Nicole Meyer and Elly Sapper in their long, courageous struggle for justice.”
Jillian Segal, President, Executive Council of Australian Jewry

“AIJAC salutes the courage and fortitude of the extraordinary young women who worked so tirelessly, over so many years, and often at great personal cost, to ensure that a measure of justice would eventually be achieved – which we trust this verdict represents.
AIJAC also wishes to acknowledge and thank the many others who helped bring about this outcome. This includes those in the independent Israeli criminal justice system which pursued Malka Leifer’s extradition for so many years, and the Australian law enforcement officials who did so much to make sure Leifer was called to account for her crimes.”
National Chairman Mark Leibler and Executive Director Dr. Colin Rubenstein, The Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council

“The Jewish community of Victoria welcomes the guilty verdict and recognises that justice has finally been served. This verdict is a testament to the strength, bravery and courage of survivors Dassi Erlich, Elly Sapper and Nicole Meyer. We note the role of our Victorian Jewish community, in supporting these survivors through the lengthy extradition and court processes, and in demanding the return of Malka Leifer to Australia to face justice.”
Daniel Aghion, President, Jewish Community Council of Victoria

A key part of their trauma was the time it took to extradite Leifer back to Australia, and the clear evidence of political interference in that process. Israel must take action to ensure that such a travesty cannot recur.”
Jeremy Leibler, President, Zionist Federation of Australia

“The sexual abuse of children can and often does have a profoundly damaging impact on children during their formative years. Today’s verdict will likely elicit strong feelings among many in our community. These will likely include feelings of support for victims and survivors of child sexual abuse and disgust at what was done to innocent children. We offer our heartfelt prayers towards their healing.”
Rabbi Yaakov Glasman, President, Rabbinical Association of Australasia

“Today’s guilty verdict is a great day for justice and vindication of the courageous survivors, Nicole, Dassi and Elly, whose perseverance and dignity have been a hallmark of their long and extraordinary fight for justice. We hope that today’s verdict provides them with some peace of mind and contributes to their long-term healing and well-being. We are also mindful that there are several other alleged victims of Leifer who for one reason or another have chosen not to go through this process and we also have them in our thoughts.”
Manny Waks, Child sex abuse survivor, convenor of VoiCSA

“We especially feel for Dassi who is the secretary of our board.”
Leah Boulton, CEO and founder, Pathways

“The UPJ welcomes the verdict reached today against Malka Leifer. We fully appreciate that it has been a long journey for the three sisters who have waited many years for justice to prevail. We are pleased that the Australian justice system has provided a fair trial and a just outcome. We still await the length of sentence and also if there is the likelihood of an appeal but as the jury had deliberated for 32 hours we hope this will end the long and nasty chapter in our communal history.”
David Knoll and Brian Samuel, Co-presidents, Union for Progressive Judaism

“The verdict represents the culmination of over two decades of suffering and unstoppable activism by so many caring people within the Jewish community who simply wanted to see justice done. Today’s verdict finally brings closure for three brave women, after astonishing delays and setbacks that no victim of sexual abuse should ever have to endure.”
David Southwick, Deputy Victorian Liberal leader, state MP for Caulfield

“I am very pleased to see justice finally served in this case. It has taken an extraordinary amount of bravery and persistence from victims and survivors to achieve this, and they deserve our highest gratitude. I am relieved that, after some inexplicable delays in extraditing Ms Leifer back to Australia, we received the full cooperation of Israeli justice authorities with this case.”
Dave Sharma, Former federal MP, former Australian ambassador to Israel

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