www.news1.co.il September 21st 2011
Discrimination against Divorced Fathers
in Justice and Welfare
Men are discriminated against in determining alimony, in courts and the police, by encouraging filing of false complaints; in determining fictitious “earning ability” of the man in order to charge him with alimony – without considering reduction in this ability following divorce proceedings
- Family Courts – Sophisticated Machine for Destroying Men
- Outrageous Alimony Irrelevant to Income
- Fictitious Earning Ability – Fertile Judicial Fantasy
- Separating Children from Their Fathers – Systematically Violating International Conventions
- Balancing Resources – Taking Property and Transferring It from Men to Women
- Pre-Marital Financial Agreements – Nullified
- Police Stations – A Small Scale Court
- Cachlon’s Aiding Clerks – Arousing Gender Hatred
Think twice if you should evenhave children in Israel [photo: AP]
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Tags: Zehava Galon, Hanna Beit Halachmi, Yoel Hasson, Shelly Yechimovich, Tzipi Hotovely, Tova Sivan, Rivka Makayes, Moshe Cachlon
The state of Israel has yet to free itself from the ancient stereotype that women deserve to raise children more than men. The discrimination is based by law of the Tender Years Presumption, and the result is lack of equality in dividing parental responsibility between father and mother, and initiated separation of children from their fathers. Every year, thousands of children are separated from their fathers and about 3,500 children are sent to contact centers, otherwise known as “contact corrals”.
A man arriving at a family court is instinctively perceived as extortionist, violent, danger to his children and someone who abused his wife during years of relations, and now must pay of his own money, since the prevailing opinion is that women are gentler, women earn less than men, women suffer from lack of occupational opportunities, women are liable to extortion in rabbinical courts and they suffer from male hegemony. All these are false stereotypes nurtured by a handful of feminists of the hypocritical kind, which doesn’t really want equality but preferences and privileges. Google the following names and you’ll see who we’re referring to: Daphna Hacker, Hanna Beit Halachmi, Tzipi Hotovely, Ruth Halperin Kaddari, Ayelet Blecher-Prigat, Shelly Yechimovich, Zehava Galon, and Yoel Hasson.
The anti-male gender discrimination unquestionably ruling the Israeli society, overlooks a variety of fields which the Israeli governing authorities are responsible for, including: judicial authority and executional authority (police, welfare services etc.), and headed by the legislative authority, the Knesset.
Family Courts – Sophisticated Machine for Destroying Men
In courts, in 99% of the cases the man is discriminated against in the deliberations between him and the woman, both procedurally and in essence. On the procedural level, the wrongful discrimination is mostly apparent in the man’s lack of opportunity to prove perjury in the woman’s affidavit by cross-examination. Many family courts refuse to summon witnesses in favor of the man, refuse to summon evidence from banks and financial institutions, or the material is “summoned” but gets lost.
Another tactic is limiting the man to only “five questions”, even if the opposite side submitted a detailed affidavit of dozens of pages, and if that’s not enough, some family court judges simply erase the man’s affidavit for various reasons. Other judges determine three or four hours for trial, but when the parties stand they announce that each party will have half an hour and then the judge takes the remaining three hours for personal time. Some family court judges are so busy replying to the enormous amounts of police complaints issued against them in the commissionership for public complaints against judges, it’s hard to believe that they even have time left to discuss the current cases.
One judge, Tova Sivan, issues rulings without even setting a date for evidence showing or for trial. So she produces a false impression of efficiency by wholesale closing of cases. Another judge, Rivka Makayes, has accumulated thousands of complaints regarding wholesale separations of children from their fathers while collecting an additional paycheck as a college lecturer. Likewise, requests made by the woman are discussed immediately, and when the man files a request he encounters postponing and deliberate foot-dragging, such as: “will be discussed in pre-trial in six months”.
Additionally, when the court faces two factual versions, each by only one witness: one by a man and the other by a woman, the court determines, out of thin air and without any fundamental reasoning, that “the woman’s version is preferable”, as the judges shelter under the jurisdictional fabrication that the judge is able to see into the parties’ minds and souls, and still, as mentioned above, always accepts the woman’s version.
Outrageous Alimony Irrelevant to Income
Unlike any other country, in which children’s alimony is determined according to the free income as shown in paychecks, and according to both parents’ income level, in Israel the woman’s salary is completely ignored, and men are bound according to the number of children, 1,200-2,000 NIS per child, with the addition of accommodations and various “needs” which suddenly pop up. The wrongful discrimination is apparent in ignoring the woman’s income and determining fictitious “needs” of children, both “necessary” and luxuries, requiring enormous amounts of money, and “dividing” the luxuries is also fictitious. Seemingly the additional alimony charges seem equally divided, but eventually only the man pays out of his pocket to the woman’s pocket, and the sums of money and its designation in practice are not supervised.
Obviously, when the couple raised their children, they raised them out of the pre-divorce existing income. Without any justification, when a claim for alimony is applied, the man is required to go out and get money, which did not exist before, and all that after the man had spent tens of thousands of NIS on attorneys, was taken out from his home, searched for a new place to live in, and usually his salary is also confiscated, sometimes fully.
When an average family has 3 children, according to official statistical data, the alimony will be 6,500 NIS, no matter how much the man earns, and how much he needs in order to live. That is blatant discrimination. Some fathers have to pay alimony in a rate of 80% of their salaries, 100%, 120% and sometimes even double. There is no correlation between income level and the alimony rate. Assuming the woman earns 5,000 NIS she’s supposed to receive 6,500 NIS, and the man is supposed to manage with whatever he has left, if any, and in many cases he is left with zero. The family court judge is not even interested in knowing what are the woman’s salary or assets. The goal is to transfer as much money as possible, as fast as possible, from the husband to the wife.
There is no binding formula for child’s alimony. The alimony is set according to the judge’s mood that day. A certain panel of court may determine that in order to pay for all the child’s essential needs one needs a monthly amount of 1,200 NIS (not including accommodations), and the same court (different panel) may determine that in order to pay for all the child’s essential needs one needs a monthly amount of three time more than that, all that while the data of both children and parents are similar and even identical.
We’ve compared the rates of alimony determined in Israel, in comparison to customary alimony in United States. We’ve found that in Israel the alimony rates are 4 times more than in United States. That is, when claimed that there are enormous debts of uncollected alimony, in fact only 25% of that are actual alimony and the rest are “gender fines” for having children.
In Israel prevails the belief that during divorce one must examine “the children’s needs” and determine the alimony accordingly, and it is a fatal mistake. In other countries one examines the existing income and the available income, regardless of “the children’s needs”. In practice in Israel, most of the claimed “children’s needs” are fabricated: classes, treatments, babysitting, day-care, etc. the woman just claims she’s entitled to it, and she receives it, because the court gives it to her. No one stops and asks the simple question: and if they wouldn’t have gotten divorced, how would they have managed with the claimed “needs”? We know of one judge that told a man: “For all I care, go and sell a kidney”.
It is a situation in which family courts mislead women to think that they are “entitled” to minor alimony in outrageous rates, that cannot be afforded, and are 4 times higher than customary and acceptable overseas. These women fight in court in order to “achieve the maximum”. As they receive the ruling, the bitter reality slowly reveals itself, that there is no chance that the man will be able to afford such payments without collapsing. The women are disappointed, because the judge promised them that “they are entitle to it” and so they revenge. The revenge is in the form of separating the father from the children, refusal to contact and parental alienation.
Let us point out that a typical ruling of alimony in United States will include the average salary of the woman in the past few years, the average income of the man in the past few years, and the relevant percentage from which derives the alimony according to the ratio between woman’s salary and man’s salary. In israel, on the other hand, the rulings look like an imaginary list of “needs”. Courts waste pages upon pages of deliberations that look like this: The woman presented receipt for judo lessons for the child and ballet lessons for the mother. The man objected.
The court finds that the husband should finance the lessons, and so on and so forth. So family courts waste their time in futile calculations of various needs, which did not exist at all during marriage, while a simple equal formula would have resolved the issue. In other countries the formulas appear on the court’s website, so the parents can know in advance what they are entitled to and what they are not entitled to, and the lawyers cannot mislead the woman to believe they will get her more than that.
Fictitious Earning Ability – Fertile Judicial Fantasy
Moreover, in order to determine the father’s portion in financing “the minor’s needs”, the fiction called “earning ability” was invented, according to which the court decides what it believes that the father is capable of earning above what the paychecks show. The court does not examine whether the man has free time to work another shift, or if there is even an employer that will pay him the imaginary salary that the court determines. So the court invents non-existing facts, completely overlooking the unemployment rate in the market, since the man is in the midst of a deep emotional crisis while his family falls apart.
A man’s low mental state does not allow him to stay focused in his job, and as a result his productivity reduces, and he is facing dismissal and entering the unemployment cycle and multiple legal proceedings which completely deplete the free assets for distribution. Who can work while such a sword is placed next to his neck, he is separated from his children, undergoing an intensifying mental crisis, his wife’s police complaints lead to his arrest, removal from home, separation from his children and conducting criminal proceedings against him.
He is required to spend time and financial, mental, emotional resources on the divorce battle and all its extensions, to pay separate accommodation’s expenditure so he will have a place to live in, alongside the expenditures to maintain a separate household (involving significant costs) etc. The new trend in women’s help clinics (Wizo, Na’amat, Legal Aid) is to also prosecute the grandparents on the husband’s side for “smuggling assets” in order to maximize the pressure against men to give up everything they have.
It is unnecessary to mention that in a nucleolus family, in cases of financial difficulties, the standard of life of the entire family’s components drops for both partners. Not so in cases of divorced families: the rulings lay the consequences of the financial difficulties upon the man alone. He himself bears the consequences. If he cannot afford it, he will automatically be sentenced, like a criminal, to an “imprisonment” penalty of up to 21 days (in vast majority of cases). The executional authority will not have any deliberations regarding inability to pay. The man will not even receive a lawyer if he cannot afford one, as customary in criminal courts. In light of the above mentioned, many divorced Israeli men are forced to move back in with their parents or live on the streets.
In such inhuman conditions, no sane person has any real earning “potential”, the man is labeled as “problematic”, his self image deteriorates into bottomless abyss, and someone with such low self esteem finds it difficult to live up to even some of his potential.
Add to it the fact that “alimony” may also include “wife’s alimony”, including a wife that has stopped working in order to be provided to by the man, even though she has earned a nice salary until the dispute erupted and her salary was a main part of the joint household expenditures, and you will surely conclude that the ruling is totally irrelevant to reality, and leading to an odd and clearly intolerable situation.
Separating Children from Their Fathers – Systematically Violating International Conventions
Likewise, the “parenting time” divided between both parents is far from equal as east is far from west. Separating a child from one of the parents is an everyday act in family courts. The woman is the only one controlling the level of contact of the father with his children.
If the woman wishes the father to see his children, she allows it. If she doesn’t want to, she separates them. The aiding clerk will automatically approve every step and action made by the woman. Social services believe that separating children is a healthy and welcomed phenomenon. So they learn in social workers’ training schools. All that constitutes a systematic violation of international conventions on which the state is signed, and obligated to guarantee a full and qualitative contact of both parents with the child even during divorce.
Balancing Resources – Taking Property and Transferring It from Men to Women
The same is true in regards to dividing mutual property. Theoretically the public belief is that during divorce the mutual property is balanced, usually equally. In fact, under the subtitle of resources’ balance, courts simply transfer most of the accumulated property to the woman and leave the man with nothing. Extremely despicable lawyers initiate proceedings against the man’s family members, especially his parents, under a claim of “property smuggling”.
The expectation is that family members will instruct the man to give up whatever he can, as long as they will not reach the family court, in which the undisputed queen, the woman, triumphs over everyone, including the man’s mother. For example, a man who from time to time drove in his mother’s car, which she had received from the Ministry of Defense, had to give up all his possessions since his wife sued her sister-in-law claiming she is smuggling joint property.
The woman, who directly contributed very little, if any, of her skills to achieving the property, gets in a lot of cases a bigger portion of the joint property, in addition to taking the man’s money for 24 pre-paid alimony payments, legal fees of thousands of NIS, and usually the family court judges deliberately delay the property distribution in order to accumulate debts in favor of the woman. In rabbinical courts, the woman may claim specific accommodation, and then the man will not receive any property distribution since the woman will be able to live in the joint apartment until the children grows up, thus withholding the property distribution.
The problem intensifies as many men tend to believe that they can ensure themselves against theft of their property by a financial agreement or a pre-marital agreement. We’ve already seen judges who state without a blink of the eye that “right now I nullify the financial agreement”, if it favors the man, obviously.
Pre-Marital Financial Agreements – Nullified
If someone believes one can insure the couple from property claims during divorce by having a financial agreement or a pre-marital agreement, than he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. All one needs to do is to file a claim to cancel the financial agreement, claiming that it was signed under pressure and it is unfair. When such a claim reaches family courts, the judge states she “nullifies” the agreement, since the man enforced it on the woman, or any other excuse, and with that the financial agreement disappears.
Sometimes family court judges also raise the claim of “relying”, meaning that the woman relied on the man and he deceived her, or acted against her interests, when he asked her to sign a financial agreement, assuming that women marry men because they are weak and cannot have independent discretion, and so they “rely” on men. From here it is a short distance to rule that in any event the man has betrayed his duty towards his wife and to nullify all financial agreements. Obviously, each time the judge used the relying claim, it was done while winking at the woman’s lawyer, since everybody knows that “relying” cannot be proved by evidence, since the woman is instructed in advance to say “I relied on the man”, and the court determines as usual that it believes the woman, just because she claims so.
Police Stations – A Small Scale Court
A woman can complain in the police station about whatever she wants, and does not need any evidence. It is enough for a woman to say she is threatened or that the man said something that can be interpreted as a threat. The result is an immediate removal of the man from home. The immediate restraining warrant given by the police is actually like a judge’s order, and its impact is awful. The man is thrown away from his home, he has no place to go to, and he will not see his children.
It is well known that in the help clinics of Wizo, Na’amat, Israel’s Women Network and Legal Aid, they teach the women to fabricate false complaints. The Israel’s Women Network published a guidebook written by Rivka Makayes herself in 1992, including instructions regarding what to say and what are the most effective false complaints. For example, Makayes guides the women to claim: “My husband pulled out his penis and demanded I perform oral sex” or “my husband raped me in the shower” or “my husband hit me with the shower head and I bled”. “Nothing will deter my husband”. “In light of reoccurring acts of violence a restraining order is requested”. A woman equipped with such statements while coming to the police station, knows that she is guaranteed to win the divorce claims.
In police stations, 99% of the times the man is discriminated against, as manifested by the following actions: immediate removal from home based on fear and without any evidence, tendentious questioning aimed at labeling the man as an offender (for example, blatant refusal to perform polygraph tests and/or questioning under hypnosis), refraining from interrogating witnesses, refraining from receiving the man’s complaints against offenses done by his wife etc, refraining from indicting a woman who maliciously made up false accusations against a man, automatic arrests of men, conditioning the man’s release in his “consent” to being removed from home for 15 days, refraining from use of minimal interrogational tools (such as confrontation, finding relevant witnesses, etc). The courts are backing up such acts of the police, by wrongfully using the rule of “evidence sufficiency”. In fact, not even a shred of evidence is required in order to convict a man according to the Domestic Violence Act, except her say-so.
If that’s not enough, Attorney General’s guideline 2.5 gives women immunity against filing false complaints. Women know that most chances are that they will not be punished, even if the false complaints will be proven to be false. Closing cases due to “lack of evidence” or “lack of public interest” instead of “lack of guilt” guarantees that nothing can be done against the falsely complaining women.
Cachlon’s Aiding Clerks – Arousing Gender Hatred
In no other place in the world do the aiding clerks have such power. Courts do not decide in regards to issues of custody and seeing arrangements. They cast the task on aiding clerks, but only after giving the woman temporary custody. So the father is required to magically prove the aiding clerk that he is worthy of the grace of seeing his children. The aiding clerk can arbitrarily cancel a visitation, suspend it, or insist that the father will go to a contact center since the mother is uncooperative.
One of the most despised tricks of the aiding clerks is the excuse that since the father doesn’t see his children, the relationship cannot be resumed but in a contact center, otherwise the children will be shocked and traumatized. There is nothing crueler than when an aiding clerk tells a father his children will be traumatized by seeing him. Another trick is “convenient gradualness”. The aiding clerk writes the court that the children should be exposed to the father by way of “convenient gradualness”, that is of slowly getting the children to be accustomed to their father.
Such a father, who before the divorce was responsible for the children, read them stories, fed them, sang to them, changed their diapers, is deeply insulted when told that those children should get accustomed to seeing him by way of “convenient gradualness”. Simona Shtainmatz, the head aiding clerk, is not ashamed to admit that the policy of the Ministry of Welfare is to send every possible father to contact centers, probably in order to provide livelihood to the contact centers operators and the teams of social workers who work there. 25% of divorced fathers in Israel see their children for an hour or two a week, and Simona Shtainmatz believes these are proper “seeing arrangements”. An additional considerable percentage simply refuses to go near the contact centers, both due to the inevitable labeling that this is a place for criminals and violent people and due to the emotional scarring of the children.
The policy of the Ministry of Welfare, and the minister Moshe Cachlon responsible for it, is extremely hypocritical, since a woman may enter into her home any man see wants, to have relationship with the children and even raise them, without being checked by anyone, or required to get the children to be accustomed to him by way of “convenient gradualness” or required to go through tests of parental competence. In the same manner, the father forced to be treated by the aiding clerk may meet a divorced woman and raise her children without being interrogated by anyone regarding his right to go near her children.
In the welfare authorities, in 99% of the cases the man is discriminated against, as manifested mostly, but not only, by the following actions: conditioning seeing arrangements in the man’s commitment not to expose the children to the causes of the family’s dismantling and the order of events and actions of either parent (such restraint not only does not apply for the mother, but her lies to the children are perceived as legitimate by legal aiding clerks).
The Knesset actually reveals a deliberated and dictated policy of wrongful and clearly unconstitutional gender discrimination against an Israeli man. In his first meeting with the aiding clerk, she puts on a false mask of loveliness, hums a few words of empathy, and sometimes even makes promises. After 3-4 months, when her review is completed, only then the man realizes how the aiding clerk had tricked him. We know of many cases in which the parties agreed to a joint custody or to give the custody to the man, and the one who thwarted the agreements was the aiding clerk, which was annoyed by the fact that the woman did not insist on raising her children by herself.
So that’s it, if you think you should have children, and take the one in three chances of divorce, you’re invited to think twice if you should even have children in Israel. The price is just not worthwhile. Maybe it’s better to buy the children in India.