Commit Suicide Protesting Discrimination In Israel Child Custody
Israel News Agency
19....The above fictitious headline could easily turn into hard,
cold reality for many Israel dads if the Israel government does
not take immediate action to reform it's archaic, callous and
discriminating child custody family laws.
Laws which separate fathers from their children.
In fact, many fathers have already committed suicide
in Israel, the US and in the UK as a direct result of being separated
from their children. And the numbers are staggering. The following
fictitious account is saturated with both facts and injustices
that many loving fathers may not be able to bear for much longer.
were summoned to the house of Zvi Katz, 44, of Kfar Sava, a northern
suburb of Tel Aviv, when friends and work colleagues noticed that
he was absent from work and was not returning telephone calls.
Katz's home and everywhere we looked we saw pictures of him and
his children," said Israel police spokesperson Dor Levy.
"It appears that he committed suicide after taking a large
dose of barbiturates. He had just completed a 4 hour visitation
with his 3-year-old son, was still wearing the pink paper wrist
band of an amusement park that they had just visited and left
a suicide note next to his body."
did not tell reporters, was that Katz had uploaded his suicide
note to an Israel Fathers Rights Organization Web site in Israel
4 Justice Israel - describing the nightmares that he had been
subjected to by the local children welfare department in Ra'anana
and family courts in Israel.
in his note that he could no longer bear the pain of being separated
from his children by his ex-wife with the assistance of negligent
child welfare departments and family courts in Israel which openly
and blatantly discriminate against dads directly due to gender
bias following an outdated family custody law which was written
a child psychologist with over 30 years of clinical experience,
was a close friend of Katz stated: "Zvi was one of the most
respected professionals in his industry, had a perfect military
record where he served as an officer in the Israel Defense Forces
reserves and was an example of how loving, attentive and caring
he was as a dedicated father." She further noted: "a
totally negligent child welfare and Israel family court system
which reinforced the pathological behavior of Zvi's wife in preventing
him from having equal access to his child murdered Katz. He had
no history of mental illness. If there was any aberrant behavior
here it was on behalf of the social workers in Ra'anana who recommended
only a few hours a week for Zvi to see his child."
child psychologist said that she had even made contact
with the head of Welfare Services in the City of Ra'anana,
Israel who told her that it was "impossible"
that there was no visitation plan implemented for Katz
during the upcoming Passover holiday. Just hours before
discovering Katz's tragic death, the child psychologist
spoke with a social worker who handled Katz's case and
admitted that no plan had been written or submitted.
psychologist said that she had even made contact with the head
of Welfare Services in the City of Ra'anana, Israel who told her
that it was "impossible" that there was no visitation
plan implemented for Katz during the upcoming Passover holiday.
Just hours before discovering Katz's tragic death, the child psychologist
spoke with a social worker who handled Katz's case and admitted
that no plan had been written or submitted.
professional negligence by both the family courts and the child
welfare system in Israel led to Katz's death," said Wexler.
"If the mother who was suffering from Parental Alienation
Syndrome (PAS), the courts and the child welfare department set
aim at preventing this dad to be with his child, they finally
INA reminds our readers that the above account is fictitious in
where this suicide was enacted and the above names were changed,
but the account of the Ra'anana child welfare department is factual.
And the below facts of a staggering suicide rate by dads who are
prevented access to their children is anything but fictitious.
If you are
contemplating suicide, don't do it.
There is a life after divorce. It's not easy, but it can
Never forget that once you are a father, you are a father
The fact that the system denies you the right of being
a father to your offspring is not your fault.
you commit suicide, you don't punish anyone but your children.
have a right to have you as a father, and they have that
right for the duration of their life. Don't deny them
They are suffering enough at the hands of the system already.
One day they'll come back to you. That is human nature.
Don't leave them a graveyard plot for an address. If you
do that, you won't be any better than the system.
If you need
someone to talk to, there are some help lines. There is
no need to be alone. This is a big world with enough room
for all. Reach out and ask for help. You'll no longer
be alone. It's true, believe me.
to the Centers for Disease Control and the National Fathers' Resource
Center, eighty-six percent of men have at least one child during
their lifetimes. Using the 50% divorce rate figure, and knowing
that fathers lose custody of their children about 80% of the time,
it can be calculated that about 34% of American, English and Israel
men will experience the loss of child custody sometime during
It is well-known
that noncustodial fathers often experience high levels of psychological
distress. Social scientists have made observations such as the
following. Wallerstein noted that post divorce visits with children
"can lead to depression and sorrow in men who love their children".
Ross observed that many divorced fathers are "overwhelmed by feelings
of failure and self-hatred," and as a result are "disengaging
from a family that is no longer really theirs".
Williams highlighted the sense of failure that these fathers experience.
As a result, these men "exhibit substantially higher rates of
psychological distress and alcohol consumption than do married
men." Blankenhorn described non-custodial fathers in this way:
"These men are very angry. Indeed, their white-hot sense of injustice
can sometimes produce in them the phenomenon of pressured speech,
in which emotional intensity derails normal conversational rhythms."
very cruel irony - over the past 20 years, society has
admonished fathers to become more attentive to their families.
As more wives entered the workforce, this relieved some
of the financial pressure on men, and has allowed fathers
to devote more time to their children. And during that
same period of time, a series of laws have been enacted
that have enabled wives to obtain court orders to exclude
fathers from the household, in the name of preventing
So given the
frequency and gravity of the problem, it is not surprising that
numerous anecdotes have appeared in the popular press detailing
non-custodial fathers who have resorted to killing themselves.
One very cruel irony - over the past 20 years, society has admonished
fathers to become more attentive to their families. As more wives
entered the workforce, this relieved some of the financial pressure
on men, and has allowed fathers to devote more time to their children.
And during that same period of time, a series of laws have been
enacted that have enabled wives to obtain court orders to exclude
fathers from the household, in the name of preventing domestic
Once a precedent
of paternal separation has been established, child custody is
almost always awarded to the mother. Hence, these domestic violence
edicts have made it more difficult for fathers to maintain meaningful
involvement with their children. In some cases, their own children
have come to view their loving fathers with suspicion and distrust.
So noncustodial fathers have become increasingly frustrated and
angered by the mixed messages that they are receiving. They find
it incomprehensible that their basic human right to be a parent
is being curtailed by a legal system that they perceive to be
expensive, cloaked in secrecy, and unfair. Is it any wonder that
some fathers crack under the pressure?
January 23, 2003, a BC father, Mark Edward Dexel, 42, took the
only exit fathers are left with when dealing with the most corrupt
justice system ever known in the history of Canada, he committed
suicide. This latest tragedy has shocked many non-custodial parents
among the local support group Parents of Broken Families and other
non-custodial parents groups across the nation. It was a grim
reminder of the same tragedy that led Darren White, another member
a similar group, to take his own life back in early 2000.
father struggling with overdue child support obligations and adverse
family court decisions committed suicide on the steps of the downtown
San Diego courthouse Monday. Angrily waving court documents, 43
year-old Derrick Miller walked up to court personnel at the entrance,
said "You did this to me," and shot himself in the head.
one of 300,000 Americans who have taken their own lives over the
past decade - as many Americans as were killed in combat in World
War II. America, the UK and Israel are in the throes of a largely
unrecognized suicide epidemic, as suicide has become the eighth
leading cause of death in the United States today, and the third
leading cause of death among adolescents.
that the US is rife with violent crime, but few know that 50%
more Americans kill themselves than are murdered. Who is committing
suicide? For the most part, men. According to the National Institute
of Mental Health, males commit suicide four times as often as
females do, and have higher suicide rates in every age group.
There are many risk factors for suicide, including substance abuse
and mental illness, but the two situations in which men are most
likely to kill themselves are after the loss of a job, and after
society strongly defines manhood as the ability to work and provide
for one's loved ones, unemployed men often see themselves as failures
and as burdens to their families. Thus it is not surprising that
while there is no difference in the suicide rate of employed and
unemployed women, the suicide rate of unemployed men is twice
that of employed men. It is for this reason that economic crises
generally lead to male suicide epidemics.
Midwest farm crisis of the 1980s, for example, the suicide rate
of male farmers tripled. A sharp increase in male suicide occurred
after the destruction of Flint, Michigan's 70 year-old auto industry,
as documented in the disturbing 1989 film "Roger and Me." Some
suicide experts fear a rise in suicide related to our current
economic downturn. The other most common suicide victims are divorced
and/or estranged fathers like Derrick Miller. In fact, a divorced
father is ten times more likely to commit suicide than a divorced
mother, and three times more likely to commit suicide than a married
to Los Angeles divorce consultant Jayne Major: "Divorced men are
often devastated by the loss of their children. It's a little
known fact that in the United States men initiate only a small
number of the divorces involving children. Most of the men I deal
with never saw their divorces coming, and they are often treated
very unfairly by the family courts."
to Sociology Professor Augustine Kposow of the University of California
at Riverside, "The link between men and their children is often
severed because the woman is usually awarded custody. A man may
not get to see his children , even with visitation rights. As
far as the man is concerned, he has lost his marriage and lost
his children and that can lead to depression and suicide."
been a rash of father suicides directly related to divorce and
mistreatment by the family courts over the past few years. For
example, New York City Police Officer Martin Romanchick, a Medal
of Honor recipient, hung himself after being denied access to
his children and being arrested 15 times on charges brought by
his ex-wife, charges the courts deemed frivolous.
father Steven Cook, prevented from seeing his daughter by a protection
order based upon unfounded allegations , committed suicide after
he was jailed for calling his four-year-old daughter on the wrong
day of the week. Darrin White, a Canadian father who was stripped
of the right to see his children and was about to be jailed after
failing to pay a child support award tantamount to twice his take
home pay, hung himself. His 14 year-old daughter Ashlee later
wrote to her nation's Prime Minister, saying, "this country's
justice system has robbed me of one of the most precious gifts
in my life, my father."
rights groups contend court bias plays a direct role. One divorced
father committed suicide on the steps of San Diego's courthouse,
another set his car afire outside Alaska's child-support office.
Fathers' rights groups, joined by a few academic experts, see
a common denominator in these recent bursts of rage, and ask whether
America's family court system could be partly at fault by deepening
the despair of many divorced men.
"None of these
guys are poster children," said Lowell Jaks, president of the
Alliance for Non-Custodial Parents Rights. "But when you cause
this much pain to so many men, there are going to be repercussions
- a certain percentage are going to crack."
and government officials doubt that courtroom bias is the cause
for most of these destructive outbursts; some experts say divorced
men simply experience more isolation after divorce than women.
But Jaks is convinced of his position. "Some guys kill themselves,
some snap and go out and kill others," Jaks said. "You can dismiss
them as crackpots, you can say we need more protection for women,
but it's not going to take away the problem."
Kposowa, a sociologist at the University of California-Riverside,
has conducted studies concluding that suicide rates among divorced
men are much higher than for divorced women or married men. He
attributes the difference to what happens in family courts.
the pendulum swung in favor of the men, but clearly in the past
two decades the system is stacking up against men," Kposowa said
in a telephone interview. "The man loses his marriage, then he
loses a second time when child custody is granted to the woman,"
he said. "Unless something is done, by examining family laws and
having new policies to aid men, the situation is bound to get
from Kposowa's research, fathers' rights activist David Roberts
contends that child-support orders - part of what he calls "the
war on fathers" - contribute to the suicides of more than 5,000
divorced fathers each year. Roberts, president of the American
Coalition for Fathers and Children, concedes that his estimate
is un-provable and that suicides often may stem more from personality
factors than legal bias. But he is bitter at what he perceives
as unwillingness by politicians and most academics to take the
suicide and violence phenomenon seriously.
fathers' rights ranks, government officials and leaders of women's
groups acknowledge that divorce and custody procedures are often
imperfect. Joey Binard of the National Council of Juvenile and
Family Court Judges said states are shifting away from the traditional
presumption that mothers should get post-divorce custody of children.
Many states now say preference should go to the parent most involved
with the children, she said, "but that still leaves men on the
short end of the stick, because most are not primary caretakers."
assistant secretary for children and families at the U.S. Health
and Human Services Department, stressed repeatedly in an interview
that divorced men who commit violence are "the rare exception."
However, Horn said men commonly experience depression or other
mental health problems after a divorce. And he suggested that
some family courts may still give "subtle preference" to mothers
in custodial hearings. "Even if, objectively, there is no bias,
if the man perceives it as such, it's a source of stress," Horn
that court procedures would become more evenhanded. "There's greater
recognition that it's important to keep dads actively involved
in a child's life, that child support should be more than just
going after dad's wallet," he said.
statistics do not provide a comprehensive look at marital details
- for example, whether a male suicide victim was a divorced father
who lost custody of his children. However, psychiatrist David
Clark, a suicide expert at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical
Center in Chicago, said fathers facing loss of custody are at
above-average risk of suicide. "You go through the open-wound
agony of the divorce, you go through the agony of losing day-in,
day-out contact with your children - and if you add either clinical
depression or increased drinking - that's a combination that gives
us gray hair," Clark said.
lawmakers, family court judges and child welfare social
workers totally bear the blame for these murders.
recalled fantasizing about suicide during his divorce. "You're
just expected to move on," he said. "And you know that by moving
on, that might be interpreted as neglecting your child." Fathers'
rights groups say the frustrations of many divorced men could
be eased through legislated changes in court practices. Another
suggestion - offered even by skeptics of the fathers' rights movement
- is to provide more emotional support for men going through divorce.
But the real and lasting solutions for both fathers and their
children will never be found in the artifical chemicals of antidepressants
such as Prozac.
In the real world, the real blame for fathers taking their lives
are the family courts and child welfare systems.
asked a Fathers Rights supporter in Israel: "why would a
father take his life, if he truly cared about his child?"
The Fathers Rights leader responded: "the courts and welfare
system in Israel stripped away his title of parent and his ability
to care for his child. How can you "care" for a child
when you don't see them," he asked.
How many Derrick
Miller's and Zvi Katz's will Israel, the US, Canada and the UK
witness in the next year?
What is the Israel Knesset, Israel family courts, Israel child
welfare departments doing to eradicate this barbaric injustice
to both father and child?
How many more
loving fathers will be sentenced to seeing their children a mere
and fatally depressing once or twice a week for a few hours, while
the mothers legally kidnap their children?
How many divorced dads will be separated from their children on
Passover eve as their son or daughter asks: "why is this
night different than all other nights."
Perhaps because the child has lost a father.
family court judges and child welfare social workers totally bear
the blame for these murders.
It's time that we, as a community, speak out in support of these
emotionally abused fathers and children.
It's is you, the reader, who bears the blame by your silence.
For if you do not act, do not expect the US Congress, the English
Parliament or the Israel Knesset to shed one single tear for the
next grave to be danced upon by an angry, disturbed mother.