The chain of events following my daughter’s abduction raises difficult questions: Where do the justice and pursuit of truth lay in the Israeli justice system? Is it possible that the truth, obvious evidence in a case and international laws are completely overlooked? And maybe it’s just because I’m male? Can any mother viciously separate her children from their father, under the protection of “the law” and “the justice”, without bearing any consequences?
Each child deserves all the love and care in the world from both parents, but my daughter Ofir is forced to be denied of it. My partner prevented me from participating in her first and second birthdays, I did not get to see the first time she began to crawl, her first words and all the other things that make every parent shed tears of joy and be full of pride.
In the Israeli court I’ve requested to give my testimony through a video-conference since I knew that if I come to israel, my partner will issue a ne exeat warrant against me and I will be subjected to financial extortion and abuse from her part. The court in Israel rejected my claim and demanded I will present myself for testimony. I’ve appealed to Regional Court in Nazareth and was rejected there too, stating that if I don’t show up, the ruling will be against me, in direct conflict to the determinations of Hague Convention. I’ve chosen to arrive at Israel and despite all consequences give my testimony and fight for my fatherly right to fulfill an active role in my child’s life.
Even before I landed in Israel 2 ne exeat warrants were issued against me. This fact did not prevent me from arriving at Israel in order to find justice and return my daughter to her home here. I was forced to remain in Israel for 4 months, while not working and having to pay home and business current expenditures in United States. The legal system did not take interest in the fact that I’m the victim in this story and that I have no livelihood in Israel. After 4 months in Israel I’ve returned to United States financially destroyed; I could no longer carry the financial burden in both Israel and here, including double legal expenditures, after burrowing a lot of money from friends and family, and as I returned here I had to look for a job since my business has totally collapsed.
In the first stage of discussions in Israel, the proceedings were held in Family Court in Nazareth, in which honorable Judge Sary Jayyoussi accepted my claim and determined that my partner Oshrat is unreliable and continuously changes her version of the story. The judge confirmed in his ruling that my daughter was abducted and ordered Ofir’s return to United States within 14 days, provided I deposit 6,000$ and rent an apartment for my wife for six months. My wife appealed to Regional Court in Nazareth. This appeal was rejected and the court determined again that my daughter was abducted and should be returned to United States, while changing the return terms to a deposit of 10,000$ in addition to renting the apartment, and also requested to commence a custody claim in United States.
My wife requested permission to appeal to the Supreme Court, which again determined, unanimously, that my partner Oshrat has abducted the girl but nonetheless determined that she should stay in Israel and I was ordered to come and discuss the custody case in Israel. This is clearly an improbable and unjust order, considering the fact that my daughter is an American citizen and that our lives center in the state of New Jersey in United States.
Is it possible that the court unanimously agrees that there was a criminal offence of child’s abduction but rewords the abductor??? What kind of message does the Israeli court send with such an outrageous ruling? Can any mother in the world take advantage of the Israeli court’s ruling and commit the crime of abducting children from their father to Israel and get away with it unpunished? Where are the child’s rights, the father’s rights and the human rights? I’ve requested to discuss again the Supreme Court’s ruling. In his decision, the vice president determined that due to the legal questions arising from this case, the government’s attorney general’s opinion is required. The attorney general determined that the Supreme Court has made a mistake in its ruling, but despite the attorney general’s support my request to have an additional discussion was rejected.
The Supreme judges’ ruling was based solely on the mediation negotiations which were done under pressure and on unfair terms while taking advantage of my repeated attempts to reconcile and since it was 3 days before my planed return to United States and I could not cancel the ne exeat warrant due to court’s recess for Passover holiday. We’ve never reached an agreement and certainly did not sign an agreement but the judges perceived my sincere willingness to negotiate as a declaration of intent of supposed consent to waive my rights, which was in fact the complete opposite; and they decided to legitimize my partner Oshrat’s crime and approve of my daughter’s abduction in a court ruling that has left me dumbfounded, miserable and feeling hopeless.
I was told by many attorneys in Israel and United States that the Supreme judges’ ruling is outrageous, to say the least; the court’s ruling is based on an unsigned document which therefore does not constitute a mutual agreement according to contract law, and in general any document which is a part of mediation procedure is confidential by nature and using it is inappropriate. In case a mediation procedure fails, as in my case, the couple should return to the court’s help.
The Supreme Court created in effect a precedent which contradicts the terms of mediation procedure by saying that any negotiation or draft can be considered legal evidence even if it wasn’t signed and is confidential.
In New Jersey Court, honorable judge Bonnie Mizdol has determined after a few discussions that the Supreme Court of Israel has acted against Hague Convention and she cannot afford comity to the ruling of the Israeli court. She has also determined that the Rabbinical Court has no authority to discuss Ofir’s case since all the judges had determined unanimously that the child’s habitual residence is the state of New Jersey, United States. The judge’s ruling ordered Oshrat to return Ofir to United States no later than September 10th 2011, her 2nd birthday.