July 10, 2011 CCFISRAEL filed an alternative report of the organizations fighting for parental and fathers' rights in Israel to the United Nation's 47th Session of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, to be held in Geneva on November 14-December 2, 2011 regarding Israel's report on the Implementation of economic, social and cultural rights (ICESCR Covenant). The Ministry of Justice filed a report containing false self-laudatory comments about the assurances of equality and due process to all citizens pursuant to international undertakings. CCFISRAEL observes that in reality the Government of Israel misleads the international Community. In the area of family law, the laws discriminate against men, and maintain old and primitive presumptions favoring women in custody, child support and other marital issues. Fathers are systematically disengaged from their children, Fathers are subjected to intrusive investigations of social workers who are delegated the authority reserved for Judges to actually determine if a father will be allowed the grace of maybe seeing his child. An entire industry of lawyers, social workers, psychologists and evaluators are used to create obstacles that would deter a fast6her from fighting for custody and visitations. An entire generation of children is being orphaned by the Family Court judges and social workers. While the Government laments the kidnapping of soldier Gilad shalit by the Hamas, the Government of Israel does the same thing and perpetrates the same crime of abducting children from their fathers, and penalizing fathers monetarily and through criminal indictments,m when they try to see their children. x
Read the report in [PDF]: CCFISRAEL REPORT TO UN 7-7-2011. The full text is here:
- The NGOs dedicated to fighting discrimination against divorced and separated men in Israel, and fathers who are disengaged or alienated from the children during divorce and/or separation hereby file objections to the Third Periodic Report of the Government of the State of Israel, submitted to the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, in accordance with the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, (the “Covenant” or “ICESCR”).
- Contrary to the purported representation by the Government, no fathers’ rights organizations were invited to submit any comments especially when systematic persecution of men is ongoing and getting worse. Only NGOs representing women are allowed to participate in regular Government and Parliament sessions, as well as Committees to elect judges, Committees to examine reforms of the laws, and training sessions of personnel. As a result, bias against men in the Judiciary, Administrative and enforcement arms of the Government has created the most distorted, cruel and unconscionable family law system in the Western World. The Ministry of Justice collects comments from women’s rights movements and “gives them substantial consideration”. Men are ignored, ridiculed, impoverished, jailed and disengaged from their children on a daily basis.
- Changes in the area of implementation of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights applicable to men in dissolution of family relations are only changes for the worse, and the extent of the violations of such rights is widening, and becoming a serious life threatening issue for this generation of fathers, and for the next generation of fatherless children.
- The Government of Israel is quick to denounce Hamas for holding soldier Gilad Shalit hostage for 5 years, however within Israel itself, by Israeli authorities and vis à vis Israeli citizens, thousands of children are being kidnapped, taken hostage by welfare authorities from immigrant parents or less economically advantaged parents, and in any given year tens of thousands of children are systematically alienated from their fathers, without cause. It is done with the blessing of judges, welfare/social workers and the police. What Israel finds offensive when perpetrated by others, Israel has no problem inflicting the same kind of human suffering within its own borders upon its own citizens and its own children.
- Every child who is alienated or disengaged from his father is a source of grief for the entire extended family on the side of the father, including grandfathers, grandmothers, aunts, uncles, nieces.
- Legislation is still blatantly discriminatory against men. The parliament and judges refuse to eliminate discriminatory preferences and presumptions which favour women. That is coupled with automatic and instant decisions in favour 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. It is prevalent in custody, visitations, child support, enforcement, orders of removal and police proceedings. It turns the lives of men into hell on earth, driving most of them into poverty (at a rate of 10,000 men each year), inability to carry jobs, imprisonments, and a large number of suicides (estimated 200 suicides a year). According to Ministry of Health, the suicide rate among divorced fathers is 8 times greater than everyone else.
- The Government’s statement that “The fundamental rights protected by the Covenant are effectively protected through legislation, judicial decisions and otherwise” is simply an insult to intelligence of the international community. Sadly, the Government’s attempt to present Israel as a civilized country that promises equal protection and due process to all, is no more than a hypocritical farce.
- Divorced fathers, or any male in some other matrimonial proceeding are automatically treated as “second class citizens” who lose the protections of their human rights at once.
- The “status” of a “man in divorce proceedings” Israel is subject to institutionalized torture and denial of civil rights. The state refused to recognize any rights to fatherhood, family life and contact with child/ren, an it freely violates such rights. The State officially interprets the right to family life as dependant on the concept of “mother’s consent”, a concept which the international community and ECHR discarded long ago.
- The government also maintains discriminatory and unequal statutory presumptions: the Tender Years Presumption gives automatic custody of children to mothers. All men are sent to social workers who act as personal criminal Probation Officers and cancel visitations at whim. The rate of supervised visitations in Israel is the highest anywhere (20-25%), compared with 1-3% in the U.S. The rate of children’s removal and outplacements is also the highest in the world. The rate of false arrests and false convictions is also extremely high, and the false arrests are one more institutionalized tool to disengage fathers from children. .
- The Government also refuses to take into account the women’s income in considering amount of child support. Child support awards are formulas based on disposable income, as is the case oin any other normal country. Instead, it is based on multiplying the number of children by a certain minimum (about $400 per child), and then adding extras (30% of the woman’s monthly rent, medical, dental, extracurricular, babysitting, and anything else the Judge feels like “awarding” to the woman). As a result, many men are slapped with child support awards that exceed their income. This makes divorce a very attractive option for any woman. It also means that the woman immediately qualifies as a Single Parent Household, and a variety of Government benefits and subsidies, further ensuring that can materially profit from the divorce.
- Therefore, the rate of non-disposable income vs. award of child support is unconscionable and is the highest rate in the world. The Government compels child support defendants to be bound by religious laws, even if they are not formally affiliated with any religion or wish to denounce it.
- The Government enforces discriminatory domestic violence guidelines. Women are exempt from false report prosecution, thus encouraging free and careless false reports, which result in automatic police orders of removal of husbands from homes. Most disturbingly, children are routinely disengaged from their fathers, and all fathers are subjected to compelled interventionist methods of social workers, and costly “parental fitness” evaluators, thereby increasing the impoverishment of fathers. It affects about 10,000 fathers every year.
- At Family Courts, the Government fails to adequately publish all the applicable Family laws in a way accessible by citizens. Only lawyers have subscription-access to the laws and the reported precedents. The Government fails to make the Family Courts accessible and user-friendly to pro se litigants. There are no published formulas for child support. This simply encourages excessive litigation in almost every case. The Court fees charged by the Government are excessive. In order for a father to see a child he must file an application costing about $200 to open a case. Thus the Government collects from fathers at least $2,000,000 each year for visitation petition fees, and the same amount is collected from mothers when they seek custody for a total of at least $4,000,000 in custody/visitation Court fees (excluding interim motion fees). In return, all that the Court does is grant the woman’s petition for interim custody immediately, and refer the parties to a social worker, who becomes the real Judge of the case.
- The Government has built in mechanisms to deter men from making applications for child support reductions or visitation enlargements, as they are routinely denied without hearing, along with costs between $600 and $1,200 imposed against the father-applicant.
- Family Courts also avoid the requirement of conducting fair trials, by simply holding endless numbers of “conferences”, behind closed doors, which are dominated by the Judge, and during which the husbands’ attorneys are constantly silenced. Decisions on applications benefiting husbands, such as equitable distribution of marital assets or child access, are deliberately delayed for several months. Applications benefitting women are decided within days or on the spot, based on “affidavits” containing ridiculous allegations that are not tested by cross examination.
- If the Court must conduct a trial, then judges limit the trial to 30 minutes per side to avoid elicitation of facts adverse to the woman’s positions, (based on the practice of J. Tova Sivan in Tel Aviv District. Same Judge, however, can issue Judgments without trials, at whim, out of the blue).
- In addition, appeals from Family Court are non-affordable, since a $3,000 bond is necessary to secure the appeal. The State also fails to provide judicial remedies, as Family Court judges routinely deny justice by refusing applications to summon witnesses or financial records, denying applications to cross examine social workers’ hearsay reports, or issuing a “Judgment” at whim, without trials at all. Family Court proceedings lack fair justice and equal protection.
- The per-capita rate of supervised visitation in “Contact Centers” is the highest in the world (2,200 families per year, out of 6,000 divorces-with-children (but the number is higher as there are 1,000-1,500 in waiting list). Periods of State-enforced disengagement and Alienation can last 2 years, 5 years and in an extreme case, 12 years. PAS is so prevalent in Israel, it is subject of controversy in almost every dissolution of marriage case, and it is the State authorities that fail to protect against it.
- There is no real judicial evidentiary determination of father-child contact decisions, orders or judgments, and Family Court judges simply delegate the authority to determine father’s levels of contact with children to Welfare Agents (Social Workers) who serve as court aides. Women still enjoy a presumption that they are the parent best suitable for custody under Capacity and Guardianship Law, Section 25. Thus, women routinely get primary physical custody rights on application alone, while conversely, men are sent to social workers for “investigation”, character assessment and reports. The Social workers routinely threaten the fathers, collect rumours and libels against them; entice women to file false domestic violence complaints to expel men from their own homes, or delay proceedings pending referrals to private and costly “Dangerous Propensity Tests” or “Parental Fitness Tests”. These tests of the ability to “serve as a father” feed a booming industry of psychologist and mental evaluators at $5,000 per test.
- More specifically, those fathers who must take Parental Fitness Tests, are essentially being degraded, punished, and subjected without consent to non-scientific experimentation, since such “tests” are non scientific, and all treatise on the area agree that this may be a tool for prediction, but it is highly subjective, non-scientific and non-clinical. Moreover, it is plain degrading for a the father who, devotedly raised his children during the marriage, and was certainly fit be a parent, and now all of a sudden comes the state of Israel and doubts his ability to parent, and the only difference in that the wife open dissolution of marriage case in court.
- As a general rule, appointed social workers routinely send the men to see their children in supervised visitations centers, and this is admitted in the press by the official in charge, Simona Shteinmetz), where the fathers are treated like criminals, branded as “dangerous”, and the children only get an hour or two per week with the fathers, for several years. The supervised visitations take place at social workers’ convenience, and the children only get one or two hours a week, during the fathers’ work hours. Thus, when the state, via its appointed social workers conditions visitations with children on supervised visitations (simply because of the mother’s refusal to consent), fathers accumulate absences from work and risk losing their jobs and livelihoods, because in order to see their children, they have to jeopardize their job.
- While the woman enjoys the benefits of preferential treatment on account of her sex, and receives custody without a fair trial, or any trial whatsoever, the man is compelled to submit to the authority of a biased and ill-trained social worker, so that she would write a Social Worker Report about whether she allows the father the grace of maybe seeing the child. Fathers normally wait for such Social Worker Report 6 months up to 9 months and sometimes longer. After that, Courts routinely ask several more “supplementary reports” were necessary, so together there were 3 Social Worker, each taking several months to “prepare”.
- The social worker simply collects any piece of libel and defamation she could get from the woman, and encourages the woman to manufacture more lies. It appears that character assassination of men is the usual practice of such Social workers.
- The Social worker is cloaked with absolute immunity, just like a judge. 99% of them are women. In fact, once she is appointed, the SW becomes the real judge of the case. This practice violates the guarantees under article 10 of ICESCR, and its equivalent in other international Conventions, since the right to family life becomes conditioned on satisfying the whims of a hostile and biased social worker in every case and as to each child. Again, this practice feeds an industry of lazy social workers who have nothing better to do than to torture normative men, and feel they are part of the blessed work of “woman empowerment” via destruction of men’s self respect, privacy and their natural rights to be a part of their children’s lives.
- Most men find themselves in supervised visitation setting having to see their children in prison-like setting one or two hours a week, simply because it is the Ministry of Welfare’s unwritten policy to make wholesale references of men to supervised visitations whenever a woman voices disagreement with regular visitations.
- The duration of visits at the supervised centers can range from 1-2 years and even more. Failure of a woman to bring children to the centres, carries no remedy. In fact, Family Court judges in Israel (except one in Tiberias) express no care about the fact that so many Israeli children are growing up without fathers.
- Regarding domestic violence policies, we note that the law discriminates between men and woman. Attorney General Guidelines 2.5 immune women (but not men) from prosecution for false DV arrest. The woman was encouraged by the authorities and the social workers to file as many DV complaints as she could, in order to perpetuate the child alienation and disengagement periods. Thus, the discriminatory Guideline is actually a tool used to cut off children from fathers.
- We might add that this Guideline was drafted by one of the current High Court of Justice judges, Edna Arbel, when she was Attorney General of the State. Therefore, it is unlikely that it would be changed by her peers.
- Regarding DV complaints, we might add that because the state of Israel allows convictions merely on the “say-so” of the purported victim, no evidence is required other than the rehearsed words of the woman. Even if prior to the divorce, there were never any DV complaints, or complaints that the man posed a danger to the well being of the child or woman, still, as soon as a woman launches a DV complaint, the husband is ordered to vacate his home immediately. He is cut off from his clothing, records, personal belongings, and his children.
General principles: State responsibility, non-discrimination and international cooperation
Divested State responsibility
- Contrary to the Government’s claim in §10, that “economic, social and cultural rights continue to be widely recognized in Israel, whether directly by law, regulations or case law, or indirectly by administrative programs”, the truth is that this plies only to women, but not to men.
- Contrary to the Government’s claim in §12 that “the Courts in Israel often refer to the provisions of the ICESCR when discussing issues concerning the various rights enshrined in the Covenant”, the truth is that there is not even one single case that applies to a man in dissolution of familial relations, which any Court in Israel was willing to support the father’s rights under international conventions to access with his children.
- Contrary to the government’s position that the High Court of Justice “addressed the Covenant”, the truth is that this High Court of Justice is inaccessible to the miseries of fathers in divorce. It is impossible to afford the fees and bonds that are required, and this High Court of Justice is generally extremely slow, incompetent, and generally very biased against men and in favour of women. In fact, the President of this Court received a show thrown in her face during live Court session, from a father in divorce, who had no other way to protest the Family Courts’ usual anti-male atrocities.
- We briefly note that the Government routinely violates article 2 in several areas, as follows:
- Legislation: "Tender Years Presumption” favors women in custody disputes. It affords women automatic interim custody without any evidentiary hearing. It also creates disengagement/alienation of fathers from children during long and intolerable periods.
- Legislation: Child support awards are unconscionable, not based on disposable income, and do not take into account the women’s income.
- Practices: While fathers must await a social worker’s report, mothers get instant custody, and indirectly receive the power to block the fathers’ access to see their own children.
- Legislation: There is no legislation or provisions in the Social Workers Manual addressing joint custody, thus fathers are denied the right to equal opportunity to be a significant factor in their children’s lives post-dissolution of marriage.
- Attorney General/Police Guidelines: Guideline 2.5 exempts mothers from the consequences of false domestic violence complaints. The Police do not normally accept complaints of abused men.
- Civil Procedure: Family Courts deliberately procrastinate deciding on applications benefiting husbands.
- Civil Procedure: Lack of Appellate remedies from Family Courts due to unaffordable appeal bond, which effectively block most middle-class men from appealing.
For women Only: Economic, social and cultural rights as constitutional rights
- Again, the Government statement in §15 that “economic, social and cultural rights are widely protected in legislation, and continue to be recognized as having a constitutional status in Israeli jurisprudence, led by the world renowned Israeli Supreme Court for its professionalism and relentless efforts to enshrine human rights”, is far from the truth. Only women enjoy the benefits of ICESCR and its parallels in other treaties. As far as claiming that the Israeli Supreme Court is “world renowned” such self laudatory words from the Government are ill deserved. In fact, the Supreme Court in Israel suffers from lack of trust from almost all sectors of society, as it is a collection of condescending judges, who are detached from the normal difficulties of living in Israel.
- To the extent the Government claims in §§16-24 that “in 2007, the Government adopted a Socio-Economic Agenda geared towards reducing socio-economic gaps”, we note that the Government acts by way of inventing useless patch work agendas and initiatives, which are meaningless, and do no more than cosmetic work for the self aggrandization of the politicians. In the meantime, families that used to be solvent and middle income are ramrodded by the system to face bankruptcy of the man, dependence on government hand-outs by the women, while lawyers eat up what used the marital pot.
- A Government serious about carrying out the protections of ICESCR must eliminate all forms of discrimination from the legislation, so that every spouse has an equal opportunity at Family Courts. Otherwise, all ad hoc initiatives and agendas only aggravate a situation which is inherently discriminatory (and in that sense, there is no other “western” society” that still carries facially discriminatory statutes in its books).
For women Only: Non-discrimination
- The Government’s “reiteration” in §25 that “the principle of equality is a fundamental principle in the Israeli legal system as portrayed both in legislation and adjudication”, is again throwing sand in the eyes of the world. Equality is only applicable to women. It is not applicable to men. In reality, men in dissolution of familial relations are treated as second class citizens. They are being discriminated against everyday by judges, social workers and police, and they have no remedy at law, because Family Courts are inherently hostile to men, populated by radical feminist judges (Rivka Mekayes, Chana Rotschild, Hana Kitsis, Shifra Glik, Tamar Snunit Forer, Tova Sivan), who profess hatred to men, and practice hate-justice from the bench every day.
Prohibition of discrimination between men and women
- Family Courts deliberately procrastinate issuing decisions on any application for relief submitted by the father, sometimes 6-12 months, while the mother’s applications are granted ex parte or within days.
- Courts refuse to conduct hearings or trials. Instead, they schedule multiple “conferences”. The father’s attorneys are silenced, the verbal exchanges are not memorialized in a true transcript, and the judges merely dictate to the record what they want.
- Courts refuse to summon witnesses on behalf of the husbands or allow cross examine social workers.
- Judicial determinations of guardianship, child access, custody and visitations without evidence, or based on evidence fabricated by a biased social worker. The fact is that the entire domain of custody and visitations is judicially handled without probative evidence or any shred of fair trial whatsoever. Every divorcing father is sent to welfare authorities for a social worker Report. The Report is a collection of libel and defamatory, non-credible evidence, together with some intuitions and “sensations” of the social worker. Based on that alone, Courts “so order” the social worker report, even if it “sentences” fathers to be automatically separated and alienated from children. This feeds a booming industry of contact-center operators, social workers and psychologists, at the expense of the children.
- Family Courts erect every obstacle possible to Joint Custody. It is an undefined concept and almost impossible to achieve, because of the practice of automatic interim custody to the wife, without any actual evidentiary hearing.
- The Government fails to address the concept of shared parenting or joint custody. While the Government triumphs the wording in the Guardian and Capacity Law that requires parents to mutually agree, in fact this is a mockery, since in divorce, parents cannot agree, and when women get instant custody, and fathers do not get parallel visitations, the women gets veto rights on such visitation. When the women are motivated by revenge, or instigated by the social workers, the children are rendered fatherless again.
Wasteful Childcare services expenditures
- On this issue, (§124), we briefly note that others NGOs fighting practices of the Ministry of welfare’s removal of children from homes, complain that children are arbitrarily removed from homes of less advantaged parents (immigrants, or poor parents) and placed in foster homes or residences, and juvenile institutions that cost thousands of dollars per month, instead of spending the same amount of cash on rehabilitation within the extended family (a grandmother or grandfather, an aunt or an uncle). There are no mechanisms to embrace the Stockholm declaration on minimizing outplacements of children. Pure financial greed motivates social workers to kidnap children from poor families, and pay private operators and foster families huge amounts of cash, that if spent within the family, would have solved the problems, without scarring the children for the rest of their lives. The NGO “The Movement for the future of Our Children is dedicating to fighting both fathers’ rights, and the rights of mothers whose children are taken away to feed a booming industry of child institutions and foster homes. See: http://yeladeinu.wordpress.com.
- Once a social worker feels a child should be removed from home, orders are issued ex parte by the Juvenile Court to remove the child with the escort of the police. The parent is ordered to avoid any contact with the child, and a child who escapes the horrors of such institutions is charged with a criminal indictment, therefore permanently scarring the child’s future employability. Plenty of Videos of brutal kidnapping of children by social workers are available on Youtube. Similarly recorded video testimony of graduate of these institutions detail prison like discipline, handcuffing, forced medication, physical abuse and rape by staff and other children.
- On March 15, 2011, for example, it was reported that social workers in North Israel petitioned the Court to remove a 14 year old girl from her parents, based on a rumor that she was dating a Muslim, and therefore, it was alleged that the Muslim boyfriend may abduct her to an Arab village. Judge Yuval Shedmi granted the Petition and ordered the girl to be placed in an emergency shelter for three months. Upon the parent’s appeal to the Nazareth District Court, the order was vacated, since there was no proof that the girl had a boyfriend at all.
- On April 29, 2011, it was reported that a pregnant woman who was a recovered drug addict, whose daughter was removed from her during the addiction period, went to visit her 4 year old and 7 year old children at the foster parents’ home, despite an order not to make any contact with her children. The foster parents complained to the police and the woman was arrested for violating an order not to approach her children. At the police station, a panic attack caused the abortion of the fetus.
- Recently, a holocaust survivor grandmother whose grandschildren were removed made an application to meet with the grandchildren before she dies. The Ministry of Welfare refused the ‘extraordinary” request”.
- Statistical details reveal that in 2006 4,000 children were removed from their homes by judicial orders. Many more were removed by non-judicial methods’ such as coerced consent. Between 2002 and 2006 the number of outplacements in the City of Yokneam tripled. In Eilat, and Ashdod, Bet Shean number doubled. In Lod in 2006 there were 4 times more outplacements of children. In Elad, six times more. In Nahariya, 7 times more outplacements. In Nazareth, an astonishing 10 times more. The City with the highest number of outplacements per 10,000 inhabitants is Tel Aviv 9ranked 8 on socio-economic indicators) with 53.55 cases. Next door in Givatayim, also ranked 8 on the socio-economic scale, the rate was 3.81 per 10,000 inhabitants, i.e. 14 times lower rates of outplacements.
- We note that State or city salaries social workers receive bonuses from institutions for successful placements of children in residential care facilities.
The Gender Implications of Legislation Law (Legislative Amendments)
- If the Government abolishes all presumptions and preferences, and provides a clean slate and equal opportunity at Court for both sexes, there would be no need for patchwork legislation such as gender Implications, or others like it. Similarly, there would be no need for the “authority for the Advancement of the Status of Women Law 5758-1998, once the utopia of full equality in family rights is implemented in the State of Israel.
The Collection and processing of statistics
- Contrary to the statements in §134, the Government deliberately fails to publish statistics that would reveals its inadequacies and the practices of discrimination: (1) the average length and duration of Family Court proceedings, (2) the average costs to the father to maintain proceedings to be allowed the ‘grace” of visitations with children, (3) the costs to the national market in involving social workers in every child custody and visitations dispute, (3) the level of satisfaction from family Courts and from the services of social workers, (4) the level of satisfaction from the operations of the supervised contact centers, (5) the percentage pf fathers receving joint custody, full visitations and supervised visitations compared with other nations in the world, (6) the percentages of fathers ordered to attend supervised visitations, and the level of client satisfaction, (7) reasons for supervised visitations, (8) the durations of child-father separation periods in dissolution of familial relations, (9) the number of false domestic violence, detentions and arrests, and the costs to the national market, (10) the number of divorced men committing suicide and the reasons for suicide (estimated at 200 per year), (11) the number of suicides among divorced men as opposed to the number of murders of women in divorce.
The right to work
- The violation occurs in several respects. First, the incessant number of Court “conferences”, social worker meetings or coerced therapy sessions, the tests, meeting with attorneys, and having to see children at supervised visitation centers during work hours, all jeopardize fathers’ ability to maintain a job.
- Second, when Family Court judges impose outrageous and unconscionable child support payments (sometimes exceeding the salary itself), the entire salary is garnished, and finding a job is impossible, because employers cannot handle the constant stream of salary garnishments, and incessant Court orders against them to transfer the salary to the mother, or be dragged into a costly litigation.
- In fact, the Courts maliciously ignore actual evidence of actual salary, and instead they rely on arbitrary “imputed income”, without even hearing evidence what or why the father is alleged to be able to work more hours than he actually does.
- In general, the right to Family life of men in divorce or dissolution of familial relations is violated in almost any imaginable respect:
- The Government refuses to interpret the adult’s right to family life as including his right to relationship and access with his children during and after the dissolution of the marriage.
- The Government compels fathers to prove that they are fit to be parents during and after dissolution of the marriage, rather than take it for granted that the same parent who raised the child during the marriage has a right to non-interventionist relationship with his children during and after divorce.
- The right of fathers’ to family life in Israel is not judicially handled. Rather, the Judiciary divests its powers and authorities to a social worker, who is not bound by evidence, and is immune from any scrutiny.
- The father’s right to family life is abridged in reality and in practice, when every father in dissolution of marriage proceedings is forced to become a welfare client, and be subject to threats, intimidations and invasion of privacy, if and when he wishes to exercise this right.
- The right to family life is also abridged, because of the Courts and social workers requirement that the mother consent to the father’s contact with the children.
- The interpretation of “best interests of the child” in Israel does not include the fathers’ right to family life. In fact, fathers in Israel do not have any right to family life whatsoever. Courts and social workers consider contact between fathers and children as a matter of judicial grace, for which the father must be eternally grateful (normally after he was impoverished to the bone).
- There is absolutely no reason why the father has to suddenly prove that the child’s interest require that his father “visit” him.
- It is also ridiculous that fathers are prevented from seeing their own children, while other men in the life of the divorced woman enjoy full access to the children without any investigation by social workers. Similarly, the same divorced man who is prevented from seeing his own children may meet another divorced woman and raise her children, without anybody investigating him. So much for the wisdom of Israel’s Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Welfare.
For Women Only: The fundamental right to family life
- Discrimination against men exists in the area of division of marital property. Contrary to the Government’s statement in §366, property divisions between spouses in dissolution are never even-handedly determined.
- To begin with, a man cannot protect his assets by way of a prenuptial agreement, because judges are quick to vacate or annul prenuptial agreements on frivolous allegations of fraud or concealment.
- Second, Courts are quick to award women a monetary distribution based on unproven future values of investments, pensions and professional licenses, thus drastically reducing the current distributive share of the husband, based on a fictitious finding of “future values” of the “husband’s “capital”.
- Third, because distribution of marital assets is usually delayed by 3 to 4 years, meanwhile outrageous interim maintenance awards, and costly attorney fees, start eating up anything that will be left for the husband to receive 3-4 years after the case starts, thus leaving the husband with nothing, and artificially shifting the marital assets to the woman.
Definition of spouses includes casual sex partners
- As to the definition of “Spouses” in §368, while the Government applauds certain insignificant decisions as being noteworthy, the fact is that Family Court judges do anything to accommodate the needs of women. For example, judges have also extended the definition of a “spouse” even to partners of casual sex, who get accidentally pregnant, or trick their casual partner into unprotected sex, resulting in birth of a child (sperm theft). To accommodate the needs of the casual sex partner to obtain jurisdiction in the Family Court, the judges readily include such female sperm thieves as “spouses” or “common law spouses”,(“due to a “special relationship”), and then the onslaught on the life of the male victim of sperm theft begins: character assassination, ridiculization, labelling as violent, denial of visitations and the general annihilation of the man’s self respect, and privacy.
A joke: Strengthening and protecting the family
- The Government’s statement in §369 that it works to “strengthen and protect the family” is a joke. Because the single Family Law encourages women in divorce to apply for Government benefits as a single mother, the Government actually gives incentives to the break-up of families rather than to the protection of the family.
- Once the family unit is broken, instead of protecting what is left of the family’s parent-child relationships, the Government encourages the disengagement of children from their fathers, and the compulsory resort to supervised visitations.
No Protection of children, art. 10(3)
- It cannot be said that the children are protected in Israel. On the contrary, the judges and social workers disengage fathers from children on a regular basis, and thus creating a generation of children with unnecessary gulit feelings, unnecessary abandonment phobias, and parental loyalty conflicts. Those children are not protected from the alienating spouse (woman). On the contrary, the alienation is encouraged.
- In fact, the ICESCR rights are violated in every divorce case, due to systematic practices and policies of Courts and social workers to disengage fathers from children, in every case where the woman opposes the visitations.
- The level of Parental alienation Syndrome (“PAS”) and PAS-related litigation in Israel is the highest in the world.
- Although it may be confused with Visitations Refusal, it is a parallel phenomenon.
- The Government refuses to recognize that children need equal and qualitative access to both their parents without intervention of authorities, and without compelling fathers to spend tens of thousands of dollars to win the judicial “grace” of awarding some minimal visitations.
- In fact, Court cases repeatedly utilize warped interpretation of the concept of “Best Interests of the Child”.
- Courts have no problem declaring that the child’s best interests are not served by seeing his father. That could happen on many grounds: allegation by a social worker that the father refuses to cooperate with social workers, mother’ withholding of consent, or simply calling the father “litigious” or stubborn for refusing to accept minimal vitiations, and fighting for more access.
- The Government fails to define what the “best interest” of the child is. Ironically, social workers who procrastinate in preparing Visitations Reports, and thus create lengthy separation and alienation periods, actually invoke the best interests of the child to “justify” the denial of parental contact because of the same separation period that they themselves created.
- Similarly, when fathers are ordered to attend supervised visitation centers (and hour or two per week), the social workers still invoke the “best interest of the child” to justify even more separation periods from the child.
- ICESCR Article 10(3) is therefore violated because the state fails to protect children from Parental Alienation Syndrome and Visitations Refusals. At Family Courts, judges do not make visitations schedules simultaneously with the award of interim custody. When fathers are ordered to take a Parental Fitness Test, one of the tests seeks to elicit and encourage the child to “snitch” on his parents, thereby placing the child in an identity crisis and parental loyalty conflict.
Compulsory and Needlessly Interventionist Provision of Welfare Services
- The Coalition for the Children and Family notes that the Government’s allegations in § 376 reveal that too many children are becoming clients of welfare services, and the fact is that too many fathers are involuntarily subjected to the arbitrary powers of social workers. Instead of working to reduce the client base of the welfare services, the Ministry of Welfare together with the Court administration Office simply increase the “client-base” year after year.
- The definition of children at risk is too overbroad. Even children in poor households can easily be declared ar risk, and removed from the homes. There is no effort to implement kinship foster care. There is similarly no effort to utilize polygraph tests to root out false ‘at risk” reports. It is odd that more and more money is invested into the welfare system, yet the number of at risk only grows every year. This reveals an obvious paradox, and admission that the Government fails in the way it delivers welfare services.
- ICESCR is violated also by reason of compulsion of fathers to submit to the powers of social workers, who take control of their lives, and are officially trained to collect libel and defamation, intrude on the father’s privacy, beyond what is necessary for a determination of rights to access with children, and destroy reputation by way of character assassination, sometimes using “cut and paste” defamatory scripts.
- Welfare services fail to distinguish between referrals from Family Court that merely require a basic profile investigation, and those that require intervention. The National Training School for Welfare Employees emphasizes intervention in every case. This produces a massive amount of anger and frustration from fathers who are forcefully subjected to unnecessary “interventionist methods”.
Doctored figures of Child abuse
- The Government’s numbers and figures regarding child abuse instances (§377) are completely false and doctored.
- It is well known in Israel that the mere “say so” by a woman, that the child was abused would create a substantial period of suspension of visitations with the children. Therefore, it is in vogue to fabricate allegations of child abuse and even sexual molestation by fathers against their own children, simply to gain the added advantage of automatic suspension of any contact between the father and the children, as a tool to extract a better financial settlement.
- Such allegations are not checked or investigated, even though they can be easily solved with a simple polygraph test at the police station. However, the fabricated allegations go into criminal records (rap sheets), and the mere transcription of an allegation by one social worker in a report causes all others to merely parrot the “story’ to the point of self conviction that the allegation is indeed true.
- The abuse to the children is therefore produced by the Family Courts themselves: failure to immediately direct a polygraph test causes the children to struggle with planted false memory syndromes. It causes a deteriorating separation anxiety from the person who used to be their father, and the children are needlessly treated as victims of child abuse that never happened. In addition, those children have to deal with blatant attempts to plant false memories in their young minds.
- Indeed the children are often encouraged by social workers to “snitch” against their fathers, (per social worker’s Manual 3.28), and are therefore placed in an untenable loyalty conflict as pawns in games of adults.
Inequality of treatment (Primitive treatment of Same sex)
- The Government claims in §410 that “significant developments which occurred… concerning the definition of “family” in reference to same-sex couples”. In reality, a homophobic Family Judge in Jerusalem, Phillip Marcus has recently prevented a same sex couple from bringing an artificially inseminated child from India, on the ground that as homosexuals they are unfit to parent. The couple and child were stuck in India for several months until the homophobic ruling was overturned by a higher Court.
- In addition, social workers in the Tel Aviv area have prevented a father from seeing a child and have issued restrictions on the schedules of visitations, because the father’s brother is homosexual, and according to Israel’s social workers, “there is always a risk that a homosexual may take a child to a dark room, and do things to the child”. Ridiculously, the Judge assigned to the case, Tova Sivan, whose son is homosexual as well, found nothing wrong with the social workers’ deplorable and primitive conduct.
The right to an adequate standard of living
- The rights under Article 11 are violated mostly in the area of awarding unconscionable interim and permanent child support awards that are not based on actual income, disposable income and co-contribution formulas based on both parents’ income.
- The government authorities support the theory that extracting unconscionable child supports from a father, even when clearly he cannot afford it, is in the “best interests” of the child, even though it results in denials of almost every aspect of humane life (imprisonment, lack of bank account or credit card, inability to work, nè exeat injunctions, and going into hiding).
- In reality, the payments are not made anyway because they are unaffordable, and the children lose their fathers. There is no clear formula for determining child support.
- Women’s incomes are not considered at all. Actual income of the father is ignored by the artificial concept of “imputed income”, and the statutory minimum child support per one child is outrageously $430 monthly, in a Country where many people don’t earn more than $1,500. By contrast, in New York, the minimum is $25.
- In light of the foregoing, the government’s statements in §419, that “The courts in Israel continue to play a central role in the protection of the right to an adequate standard of living” is simply untrue. No Court in Israel has ever applied the Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty to protect the rights of fathers in divorce or dissolution of familial relations. The State claims that it is “obligated to maintain a ‘safety net’ designed to ensure, that the condition of the underprivileged would not deteriorate to one of existential deprivation in the sense of a shortage in food, places of residency, sanitation, health-care services and such”. However this is exactly what happens to the 10,000 fathers every year who are forced to litigate in Family Courts of Israel and in the post Judgment executions Office afterwards.
The right to the highest attainable standard of health
- The Government violates article 12 on a constant and systematic basis due to relentless persecution of fathers, who are stripped of everything they own, cherish and love, including children, possessions and assets, all being transferred to their former wife, yet they are hounded by Child Support executions and levies office for the rest of their lives. All of these fathers live stressful lives coupled with mental anguish resulting from disengagement from their children.
- This also brings 200 divorced fathers every year to commit suicide, compared with only 5 divorced women. The rate of suicide among divorced men is the highest in the country. When fathers commit suicide, children lose fathers, and grow up in an unhealthy environment, when they are likely to develop separation anxiety and lack of trust in society.
In conclusion, the laws affecting human rights in general, and ICESCR in particular are either plain discriminatory, or implemented in a discriminatory manner. Fathers are separated and alienated from children, and children routinely lose one parent during the divorce. The State of Israel is responsible for a whole generation of de-facto orphans with living parents, sometimes two blocks away.
[UPDATE] Nov 17, 2011: To see Transcript of the proceedings in Geneva: COMMITTEE ON ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS CONSIDERS REPORT OF ISRAEL . Short version: Excerpts of the Review by UN of Israel Relating to Men's Rights