Once again, Israel ultra-liberal High Court of Justice has ruled in favor of tearing children away from yiddishkeit, ordering the return of two children, members of the Chabad community, to their non-Jewish father. In this case, the Hadera Family Court and the Haifa District Court which heard the appeal felt there would be “no significant harm” to the children by sending them to France, to live with the non-Jewish biological father. The High Court did not overrule the decision of the lower courts.
The story unfolds in the Ramat Tzvi neighborhood of Zichron Yaakov this past Thursday as Israel Police officers and social workers appointed by the court arrived, along with a film crew from France’s TF1, to remove the two innocent neshamas from their mother’s arms.
The officials placed the children in the Hertz rented car as neighbors looked on, some crying, including the area Chabad shaliach Rav Freiman, horrified with the realization that these young innocent children are being torn away from their frum lifestyle, their mother, Eretz Yisrael, to be sent abroad to live with a non-Jew, as ordered by Israel’s highest court.
The friends of the children were playing nearby, unaware of the harsh realities taking place, kept a distance by police. The mother collapsed, unable to endure the sight of what was taking place.
It is difficult to believe this story gained such notoriety, even involving French President Nicolas Sarkozy, but at home, once again, the High Court has decided against the Jewish parent, as has been the case many time when children have been ordered taken from Jewish mothers to honor Islamic law, which determines the religion of a child by the father.
The story began seven years ago, when Lior Gonen, a resident of Kibbutz Magan Michael traveled to France for a film festival. The visit resulted in her involvement with a non-Jew, and a first child was born. This followed trips back and forth between France and Israel, as well as a civil marriage in Cyprus.
The family lived in Lior’s kibbutz for five years, and in 2006, they returned to France for a one-month visit. After being refused another request to leave kibbutz for vacation, Lior and her husband announced they would be leaving, taking their payout money and then heading to France, where life was difficult. Mom returned in 2008 and decided to give birth to their second child here. When her husband appeared in Israel for the birth, he was served with a court order prohibiting him to come near her, as she maintained he was abusive.
Citing the Hague Convention, the dad requested from the family court to have his children returned to France, also citing his wife did not even bother to inform him of the birth of their second child. In the midst of their travels, the mom decided to return to the fold and she became a member of the chareidi community, further complicating matters perhaps.
The family court stated allegations of cruelty were not established and the court gave little credence to testimony from members of the mother’s family, that taking the children away would cause them irreparable emotional damage. This opinion was also accepted by the Haifa District Court and ultimately, the High Court of Justice.
Some of the kibbutz members went so far as to say she “despises chareidim” but felt by joining the community, if the courts are against her, the chareidim would side with her since the father if a goy.
The father first took his case to a French Court and then, only in Israel, was he able to emerge with a ruling in his favor, against the mother of the children.
Israel’s High Court of Justice ruled to send the older brother back to France on July 3, 2009. This was to have taken place by July 15th. Mom took her children and ran, and they were only discovered about eight months later.
The father insists he loves his children and will do everything possible to permit them to maintain their frum lifestyle if this is what they wish, adding he has many Jewish friends and he will inquire as to their needs. The dad also expressed fears that he does not want his sons to feel they were abducted, as their mother did when she took them from him. He admits he is not a religious man, but now that his sons are on this path, he does not plan to do anything to compel them to change their way of life.
(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)