Israeli court rules alleged pedophile is fit to stand trial

JERUSALEM (AP) — An Israeli court on Tuesday ruled that a former teacher wanted on pedophilia charges in Australia is fit to stand trial for extradition.

The ruling in the Jerusalem district court capped a years-long legal battle in the case of Malka Leifer, a former educator who is accused of sexually abusing former students.

“Celebration,” said Manny Waks, an advocate for the victims, wrote on Facebook in a liveblog from the courtroom. "Goosebumps throughout my body.”

“OMG!!!” wrote Dassi Ehrlich, one of Malka's alleged victims.

The Associated Press does not usually identify alleged victims of sexual abuse, but Ehrlich and her two sisters have spoken publicly about their allegations against Leifer.

Leifer has been fighting extradition from Israel for six years, and the legal wrangle to bring her before an Australian court has caused a diplomatic strain between the allies.

Leifer's lawyers had challenged a finding by a psychiatric panel that she was fit to stand trial.

Her accusers expect Tuesday's decision to clear the way for a quick extradition to Australia.

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