As Israel Amends Custody Law, Fathers Protest Feminist Conference at Bar Ilan University

By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency

Tel Aviv --- January 8, 2012 ... As the Israel government is now recognizing that divorced fathers and their children deserve equal rights as divorced women, a militant feminist conference at the Rackman Center in Bar Ilan University has caused a fury in Israel. The anti-male conference was designed to sabotage parental equality and indoctrinate social workers to treat all men and fathers in divorce or separation as unfit or dangerous parents.

Men's and children's rights organizations vehemently protested it, members of Knesset tried to stop it, litigation in Texas has been launched and pleas to the United Nations (UN) CEDAW rapporteur Rashida Manjoo were sent, seeking the termination of the organizer Ruth Halperin Kaddari's membership in CEDAW.

The Rackman Center at Bar Ilan University is headed by militant feminist Dr. Ruth Halperin-Kadari, in close association with another leading speaker, Dr. Dafna Hacker of Tel Aviv University’s Gender Studies program, another militant feminist with strong ties to the New Israel Fund.

Hacker is a founder of Itach-Maaki, an organization that recently volunteered to assist in the legal defense of sadistic man-killer Erika Orbush Frishkin.

Father's rights groups in Israel state that Halperin-Kaddari and Hacker publicly encourage women to use children to extort financial benefits from former spouses.

The morning session at Bar-Ilan was an indoctrination session to train social workers in justifying parental alienation - PAS, and the use of sophisticated language to deny fathers parental rights and access to their children.

Australian male bashing guru Jennifer McIntosh participated by video conference and tried to persuade Israel social workers that only mothers connect to children because of "neuron emissions from the right side of their brains".

There was no discussion of the documented importance of a father's role in the well being of their children.

The second session is the unveiling of two committee reports, one on custody and visitations, and the other on child support. Both committees announced reforms which the ultra feminist organizations are desperately trying to sabotage. The second session was attended by the Minister of Justice, Yaakov Neeman, and the committee chairmen, Dan Schnit and Pinchas Schiffman.

Israel pro-family and men’s rights organizations are outraged that such important conferences are held on the militant feminists’ home turf, and will be moderated by the same women who try to prevent any reform in family law from taking place. Moderator Ruth Halperin Kaddari has already expressed her position that the tender years presumption (automatic custody to women) should not be eliminated and instead stretched out to apply to children and youths until the age of 18.

In the past, she has been caught falsifying statistical data and disseminating false results of public opinion polls and surveys.

Another speaker at the first session, Saviona Rotlevi, was herself in charge of a sub-Commission on parental equality between 1997-2003. After six years of deliberations, she refused to issue a final recommendation, on the ground that she personally thinks that men are not mature enough to handle tasks of caring for children.

This appears to have been the 9th annual conference held in this format.

All eight previous conferences were secret and the public was not made aware of them.

Members of the pro-family and men’s rights organizations stated: “Now we understand why we are being treated with such immense hostility. Apparently, the Israel Ministry of Welfare has been training its social workers at the institution where hatred of men is a form of art."

MK Yulia Shamalov-Berkovich (Kadima) has published letters she sent earlier this week to Welfare Minister Moshe Kachlon and Bar Ilan President Moshe Kaveh, asking them to rethink the conference, and cancel it. She states that it is academic hypocrisy to allow only radical male hating feminist speakers at such important conferences with national impact, and close the events to speakers supporting parental equality.

The conference is timed to coincide with the release of the conclusions of government committees that are expected to recommend canceling the Tender Years Clause that gives mothers automatic custody over young children in divorce. Israel is said to be the last country in the world where this presumption is still in effect, and causes a generation of fatherless children.

Shamalov-Berkovich notes that the conference is biased and that the social workers should also be exposed to the views of experts who support the cancellation of the Tender Years presumption, and the benefits of joint custody. In divorce cases that involve disagreement over parenting arrangements, social worker’s reports and recommendations are crucial to shaping the court’s decision, because family courts simply “so order” them without trial.

Bar Ilan U’s militant feminist leadership suffered some setbacks in the past year, in the wake of growing criticism of its ultra-leftist leanings.

Jennifer McIntosh, the Australian key speaker who intends to talk about “mental primary caretaker” research in Australia, received warnings from Israeli men's rights activists. In their letters they ask Ms. McIntish to decline participation in the Israeli Rackman Center conference.

“The fathers’ rights organizations in Israel protested both inside and outside against Australian meddling with the internal affairs of Israel and the rights of parents in Israel for a happy, peaceful, loving and caring relationship with their children post-divorce on an equal basis”.

The fathers complain that McIntosh has “no idea about the ruthless oppression of men in Israel Courts and by social workers, police, psychiatrists and even the rabbinical courts”, and “no idea how prevalent the “contact centers” are in Israel. It is enough that a woman creates a “lack of trust” situation for the SW and judges to send normative men to contact centers”.

“You have no idea how many men commit suicide here because of the incitement of hatred by organizations such as the Rackman Center. You also have no idea how hate mongering propaganda emanating from the Rackman Center is being used to suppress the lives of men, and you appear to willingly join the war against men in Israel”.

According to the divorced fathers, the conferences were videotaped and will be used as evidence in a litigation which is already filed in Texas based on Alien Tort Claim Act (“ATCA”) on the allegation that that the McIntosh and “the ferocious feminist organizations incite hatred and perpetrate crimes against humanity by separating men from their children”.

In conclusion, the Israeli fathers told McIntosh: “we find that what you have spoken of, at said conference, is nothing but junk science and a despicable one as well, dressed up as 'academic research', when in fact, it is purely hate speech and incitement to commit crimes against humanity, incitements to perpetuate conflicts between women and men, incitement for woman to file false domestic violence complaints to create 'high conflict', and the encouragement of parental alienation on a grand scale. You and your cohorts have already given Australia a negative reputation in the international community and especially here in Israel, since your unfounded, undocumented and gender bias ideas have no academic substance whatsoever."

An Israel Justice Ministry panel called to revoke an archaic 40-year-old law that automatically grants custody of all children under age six to the mother. The proposal suggested the law be replaced with a gender-equal alternative.

A complaint submitted last year to the United Nation’s Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Coalition for Children and Family (CCF), an Israel non-profit organization vying for father’s rights, blasted the legislation as “blatantly discriminatory against men.”

“If it was not for crazy feminist hate-inciting monsters we could have achieved this change in legislation in 2003,” said Daniel Zer, a father who has not seen his son for more than two years and who is active in the CCF. “This would already have brought us a whole slew of changes, including in the area of divorces and the rabbinical courts, which is also a problem for many men.”

Zer stated that Schnitt’s recommendations were not relevant because it was the state’s obligation to remove this specific law because “Israel’s basic laws require equality.”

He said that it was time for Israel to adopt similar measures followed in most Western countries regarding custody placement.

“There either needs to be gender mutuality, where the law is simply silent about the gender of the parent and bases the decision on the best interest of the children,” said Zer. “Or there needs to be joint custody with a two-home presumption.”



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