Israel, Remembering One Passover Massacre, Living Another Of Father's,
Israel News Agency
Israel ---- April 16, 2011 ...... As a professional journalist,
one must be able to observe and report objectivity. From high
tech, fashion and the arts to politics, natural disasters and
social media. But the two areas for which veteran journalists
truly dread reporting from is the battle field and the family
court. There could not be two topics which are more devastating
to the human soul. And no amount of press credentials and being
behind the camera can buffer one entirely from the blood and the
March of 2002, this writer, by chance, was across the street from
the Park Hotel in Netanya, Israel celebrating a Passover seder.
after finishing the long and heavy meal, we all heard and felt
a boom. A blast of loud noise which shook every Passover seder
book, wall picture and actually moved the dining table. As the
lights above us swayed, we stared at one another. I knew that
no construction work was going on at that hour. I knew as a combat
engineer in the Israel Defense Forces that a terror attack just
minutes we could hear the wail of ambulance, fire and police sirens
as they made their way to the hotel. This seaside hotel was hosting
hundreds of families for a Passover Seder dinner. They came from
New York, Paris, London, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Families with
young children dressed in their holiday best. To hear the story
of the Jewish exodus from Egypt to freedom in ancient Israel.
they were praying and singing, an Islamic terrorist walked past
two security guards at the entrance of the Park Hotel, past the
front lobby and into the main dining room. After yelling "Allah
Akbar" in English meaning "god is great" he set
off a lethal suicide bombers belt.
twenty men, women and children were murdered. Over 180 innocent
Jewish civilians were injured.
soon as I saw a breaking news announcement on Israel TV saying
that there was a terror attack in Netanya, I grabbed my coat and
left for carnage that awaited across the street. Those I was with
begged me not to go, but as a reporter, as a messenger for Israel
it was my duty to observe and report this barbaric atrocity.
was a three block walk on a cold, chilly evening to the hotel.
As I arrived, fireman were rushing in with hoses and dazed, bleeding
and shocked Jews stumbled out of the hotel. I walked over at least
5 bodies that were strewn on the sidewalk. Inside, all electric
was gone. Only a thick grey smoke and the sound of crying.
I walked into the darkened dining room I witnessed body parts
and blood among the dangling electric wires and broken wooden
tables. The Passover seder books were ripped apart, laying blood
stained on the floor. I looked for any sign of life. To help those
who had survived the terror attack out of the hotel. But the police
and fire fighters had already removed the living. I was now walking
among the dead. Middle aged men, women, grandparents and children
slumped over tables or lying on the ground.
could only hear the sound of water dripping from the crushed fire
detector sprinkler system above and the pain of those who were
told the AP that there was no life inside. People dressed
in their finest suits and dresses were now cold, lifeless corpses.
Hard to articulate a scene such as this let alone to find a rational
reason for it to happen.
years later, a massacre of another sort is taking place in Israel.
A massacre of loving, caring relationships between fathers and
their children. For in the democratic State of Israel, thousands
of good dads have had their parenting rights stolen from them.
All it takes is an angry, psychotic spouse to make an unsubstantiated
claim of child abuse.
a claim of child abuse was made in London or New York, social
works and forensic psychologists would be dispatched in hours
to protect the child. To ascertain what had happened and if the
charges were false to protect the father from a ruined relationship
with his children, to protect his reputation. But not in Israel
where there is very little money to investigate. Where family
court judges take little if no responsibility as they pass that
job onto child welfare which not having money then passes the
buck back to the family court.
this paper file bounces between family court in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem,
Haifa or Kfar Sava and child welfare in Holon, Ra'anana, Beer
Sheva or Hadera the father is told that the only way that he can
now see his children is in supervised visitation centers (merkaz
kesher). Many fathers will not bow to this humiliation order by
a callous family court and opt to simply walk away. Leaving thousands
of children without fathers in Israel.
massacre takes place. And this time there are no police, fire
fighters or soldiers rushing in to help the wounded.
father in Israel, David Marcus, an immigrant from Chicago living
in Haifa, tells his story. This reserve officer in the IDF who
saved 53 children in Haiti and advises the Israel government on
public affairs has been treated no less than a criminal.
ex-wife hates me more than she loves our children," says
Marcus. "It all began with my 9-year-old son complaining
that his mother was hitting him. At first I didn't believe him
and upon further questioning I realized that he was being physically
abused by his mother. I asked child welfare to investigate and
stop the beatings. They warned the mother to stop. If I had wanted
to secure custody of my child at the time, all I had to do was
make a formal complaint to the family court or to the police,
but I did not want to take the mother away from the child. Just
wanted the mother to stop the punching and slapping of my young
a month I had private detectives on me. Stalking me and at one
point they assaulted me. As they were throwing punches and pushing
me, my son yelled out for them to stop killing his father. Neighbors
came out and photographed the assault. I was a little behind on
child support, but given that my ex makes over two million dollars
a year, it was never a point of contention. But she tried to use
this to have me arrested several times. I made all the payments
and even went to the States to secure more money from a trust
fund that I have. But my ex told me that this was not about money.
She proved this point when she paid two women to state that I
had abused my children. These women committed perjury. All one
has to do is examine my child. But that is still not good enough
continues: "Child welfare, which practices blatant gender
bias discrimination, suggested that I seek a forensic psychologist
who can determine if any abuse actually took place. What they
didn't tell me was that it was going to cost thousands of dollars.
What father in Israel, who is paying child support, has thousands
of dollars laying around? This is a poor country - one in three
children live in poverty. Fathers lose their rights as parents
and then are forced to find money for attorneys and forensic psychologists.
Even if the father is able to find the moneys for these professionals,
months go by that we do not see, hug or care for our children.
PAS - parental alienation syndrome sets in. The children lose
interest in a father that they do not see and fathers are harassed
into finding a comfort zone free of private detectives and threats
of prison. But there are many of us who will simply not give up.
Our love for our children is stronger than steel and we will not
allow our children to become victims of a psychotic mother. Every
child deserves and needs both parents. Joint custody and equal,
shared parenting urgently need to become the norms of Israel society."
newly formed organization in Israel - The Coalition for Family
- is planning to address how easy it is to remove fathers of their
basic human rights in Israel with a simple claim of child abuse
with no evidenced offered. They are planning with Fathers
4 Justice Israel to being in Geneva next month to lay witness
at the UN Council on the Welfare of Children.
am now in the US trying to make my way home to Israel," says
Marcus. My brother who controls my Trust fund has turned his back
on me while the Rabbi of his Temple has provided me with emergency
moneys for a forensic psychologist to clear my name. I can see
the light at the end of the tunnel. When my name is proved clean,
it will mean that someone has been lying. Will that mother be
dealt with for emotionally abusing her child? Will the family
courts of Israel protect the child from that kind of behavior?
Can the family courts and child welfare be able to determine if
charges of child abuse are real or false in a matter of days -
not months or years?"
it is a suicide bombers belt going off or going to a school to
pick up your child and being told that you can't - both are massacres
of love and relationships that can never be replaced.
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