Israel Removes Biased Child Custody Law Against Fathers, Dads Address False Abuse Charges

By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency

Jerusalem --- January 20, 2012 .... For many divorced fathers in Israel, the declaration yesterday by Israel Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman that divorced parents must now share custody of children, may have come too late. Neeman has accepted recommendations by the Schnit Committee that joint parental custody be ordered in divorce cases involving young children, which the law defines as those up to age 6. Until now, most divorced fathers became visitors, being limited to seeing their children only a few hours a week.

As the new law comes into affect, thousands of dads in Israel would have lost any opportunity of fatherhood due to the fact that their children have already grown up or that their children suffer from PAS - Parental Alienation Syndrome. With PAS the children become alienated against the father as the mother has pushed him away and brainwashed the children that he is of no worth, or perhaps even bad for whatever reason she creates.

But, it is still a time to celebrate. A time to restore faith in the justice system in Israel which until now practiced gender bias discrimination. A time to rejoice for the many children who will now have a father to learn from, gain confidence and be there at all times.

The new child custody law will revoke article 25 of the Israel Capacity and Guardianship Law, known as the Tender Years Presumption Law. The old child custody law, though stated to be used until the age of 6, was actually implemented by the family courts and Revacha - child welfare social workers in Israel throughout the child's life.

In making his decision to accept the Schnit Committee recommendations, which have been debating this issue for 5 years, Israel Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman thanked the caring and dedicated fathers who urged for it's passing. Neeman knew that for many of the divorced fathers it was too late to restore the father child relationship but congratulated their sincere efforts for creating a better, healthy relationship for future parents.

When the fathers saw their protests were falling on deaf ears in Israel, they approached the UN. The UN assigned the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights to investigate and recently demanded that the Israel government amend its laws in order to ease the burden on fathers seeking full or partial custody of their children.

At a special hearing in Geneva last month, the UN committee expressed concern that fathers embroiled in custody disputes in Israel are not always treated fairly under the Capacity and Guardianship Law.

In its summation of hearing about the economic, social and cultural situation in member countries, the committee called directly on the state to make sure that custody of children up to the age of six is not always given to mothers and asked the government to find a way to “ensure that child support awards do not lead to an inadequate standard of living for the father.”

The UN committee was responding to a report submitted by the Coalition for Children and Family, a non-profit organization that unites several bodies engaged in fighting for father’s rights.

Alongside complaints of social and economic difficulties faced by the men and accusations that in general more attention is paid to women’s rights, the CCF also outlined legislation it calls “blatantly discriminatory against men.”

“The parliament and judges refuse to eliminate discriminatory preferences and presumptions which favor women. That is coupled with automatic and instant decisions in favor of women, compared with deliberate procrastination in disposing of motions filed by men, general attitude of ridiculization and marginalization of all men, labeling all men as potential aggressors and dangerous to spouses and children,” said the UN in it's findings.

“It turns the lives of men unbearable, driving most of them into poverty, inability to carry jobs, imprisonment and a large number of suicides - 200 suicides a year, eight times greater than everyone else, and 50 percent of the national average number of occurrences.”

Was the UN investigation and calling upon Israel instrumental in the Ministry of Justice decision?

"Absolutely," said Daniel Zer, a father who has not seen his son for more than two years. "As Minister of Justice in Israel he is responsible to report to the UN periodically about the implementation of human rights. Israel has been battered enough by the UN on manufactured charges of human rights abuses against Palestinians, the Justice Ministry did not need real, documented charges of discrimination against fathers to overshadow and top that."

But the battle for equality is still far from over.

"As soon as the Minister of Justice announced intentions to adopt the Schnitt Committee parental equality recommendations, the media was filled with reactions from the militant feminist groups," said Zer. "The Rackman Center, Naamat, WIZO and other feminist groups arguing that parental equality means that women may lose the children as bargaining chips, and that child support may be reduced to compensate for enhanced parenting time with the fathers."

"The Coalition for Children and Family ( reacted to the news stating that the version of parental equality recommendations adopted by the Minister of Justice is still a far cry from true equality. In fact, it is a booby trapped version of equality that contains built in mechanisms to elevate the mothers' chances of winning custody battles. In particular, too much emphasis is made to the question of who was the "primary caretaker", rather than who will be the friendly, responsible parent who will accommodate the non-custodian's maximum and meaningful parenting time."

"The big hoopla of the feminist organizations against the recommendations adopted by the Justice Minister are merely a diversion from the real legal issues that the family court Judges will have to actually use. The feminists naturally want an emphasis on the division of domestic chores during the marriage, "primary caretaker", which is anachronistic and does not fit modern families anymore, while the rest of the world looks at the "friendly parent doctrine", i.e. - which parent is stable and secure enough to allow the other parent full access without quarrels, false domestic violence complaints, and without periods of parental alienation", said Zer.

As fathers in Israel appear to gain some assemblance of equality and basic human rights, one must expect that a few mothers will try other means to hurt their ex and their children. In retaliation for informing child welfare that a mother was physically abusing her daughter, one father in Tel Aviv was recently accused by two women of child abuse to his own daughter. The father, a highly respected officer in the IDF reserves, works with the Israel Border Police and was chosen by Israel to fly to Haiti to help save 53 young children after the 2010 earthquake, was immediately separated from his children and ordered to see them only at a Mercaz Kesher or Visitation Center.

There was no investigation by the family court or by child welfare. The child was briefly asked if she was ever hurt by her father and she responded: "no". All the same this caring, responsible and loving father had to hire an attorney, a forensic psychologist and even volunteered to take a polygraph to clear his name and restore normal relations with his kids.

There is now documented evidence that the mother who made these false child abuse charges hired both women to discredit the father. One woman was offered both money and an airplane ticket to Australia immediately following her accusations to the police and the other women has since gone into hiding.

Fathers 4 Justice Israel is now recommending to the The Coalition for Children and Family to lobby the Israel Justice Ministry to order immediate investigations into reports of child abuse for the well being of the child and the father accused. That these investigations take no more than 48 hours to determine if the child was ever in danger and if not to clear the father's name, avoid visitation centers and to allow charges of perjury, abuse of court, libel, slander and criminal harassment to be filed against the parent creating fictitious charges.

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