UN-ICESCR C'TEE TO ISRAEL: SITUATION OF DIVORCED MEN IS HELLISH

December 6, 2011, GenevaThe United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights calls Israel to abolish the tender years presumption, change its Guardian and Capacity Law, Section 25, which is facially gender-based discriminative against men, and reduce child support awards in Israel so that men can have a self support reserve.The Committee expressed concern that fathers are trapped in Israel unable to leave under ne exeat orders that are freely granted, and that too many divorced men commit suicide while the State of Israel is doctoring the statistical data. 

The UN, which has a long history for bashing Israel, sometimes rightfully so,  has come out on behalf of divorced fathers and their children in Israel. It is unfortunate that thousands of loving, caring and responsible dads in Israel had to go to the UN to illustrate how blatant gender bias discrimination is under Israel law.  The UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights has declared that Israel discriminates against divorced fathers. That fathers in Israel who go through divorce often lose contact with their children solely because they are male. The United Nations has called upon Israel to cancel the Tender Years Clause that grants automatic custody to women for all children under six years of age. The UN has pointed out that the Jewish state, which is supposed to be well respected for its values when it comes to family, is said to be the last country in the world not to have canceled this legal clause.

Thousands of fathers in Israel are made into second class citizens as they are provided just a few hours a week to see their own children.  Many can only see their children in a supervised center a/k/a "Contact Center", (an Australian invention), as a result of false charges being made against the men by their ex-wives.  Men are also sent to "contact Centers" solely based on the mother's refusal to consent to any father-child relationship.  False domestic violence  charges are never investigated by the court or by child welfare due to legal innovations that abolished the need for any corroborative evidence other than the woman's self serving "say-so".  This makes the fathers into "visitors" or remote "uncles" rather than full time dads. The fathers must find thousands of dollars to retain attorneys and forensic psychologists in order to clear their names, money for which the majority of dads in Israel do not have as a result of low wages and high taxes.  In the concluding remarks of meetings held in Geneva in November and December, the UN committee wrote that:

"The Committee is concerned that, in the case of a divorce, custody of children up to the age of six is always given to mothers, and that fathers are often required to pay child support awards that exceed their income, and if not that their freedom of movement is seriously curtailed. The Committee is concerned that divorced fathers often are required to visit their children in supervised visitation centers during their working hours, which leads to the accumulation of work absences and the risk of dismissal."

The UN in making this statement addresses the fact that as long as the father owes child support he is prevented from leaving the country, even if his work is international.  Ne exeat injunctions are instantly granted by family courts and rabbinical courts on an ex parte basis, solely at the request of the woman.  All she has to say is that she fears that the father will not pay child support, even when no order for child support was even applied for.  Recently an ex parte ne exeat order was issued by a Judge on behalf of any embryo in a sperm theft case. The plaintiff who asked to restrain the putative father from leaving the country was an embryo.  The Committee further stated :

"The Committee recommends that the State party amend the Capacity and Guardianship Law so that custody of children up to the age of six is not always given to mothers, and ensure that child support awards do not lead to an inadequate standard of living for the father."

The UN in making the above statement addresses the law preventing and or limiting contact between father and child until the age of six, and de facto even further. What is not stated here is that even after the age of six, family courts and child welfare departments from Tel Aviv, Ra'anana and Haifa to Jerusalem, Metulla and Eilat maintain this gender bias discrimination, which are engrained in the training curriculum, for such government appointed social workers. Discrimination which often leads to PAS – Parental Alienation Syndrome where the mother poisons the child against the father and the father eventually gives up and walks away – leaving the child with no father role model.

The UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights comprises of independent experts and monitors the implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights by individual countries.  Its chairman is The Hon. Mr. Ariranga Govindasamy PILLAY, Chief Justice of Mauritius, and Chairman of the Judicial and Legal Service Commission of Mauritius, and adviser of the African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies.  The Vice chaipersons are Mr. Zdzislaw KEDZIA from Poland, Mr. Nicolaas Jan SCHRIJVER, from Netherlands, and Mr. Alvaro TIRADO MEJIA ,from Colombia.  Also on the panel, Mr. Eibe RIEDEL from Germany and members from France, Brazil, Ecuador, Algeria, Jordan, Korea, India, China, Egypt and Costa Rica.

The UN committee heard testimony from representatives of the Israel Coalition for Children and Families, an Israeli group that fights for the rights of children and their fathers in divorce. Following the testimony, the experts posed questions to a 12-person delegation, headed by Arthur Lenk from Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Shosh Shmueli, from Israel's Ministry of Justice.   A source on the committee said that the experts noted that there was a high suicide rate among divorced men in Israel, amounting to half of all suicides.  For the first time, the Government of Israel admitted that the numbers of dsucide by divorced men in Israel is 150 out of 400 cases of suicide nation-wide.  The Ministry of Health (Yemima Goldberg) has been hiding this figure for many years, and refused to respond to Freedom of Information request.  In that sense, it is disturbing that citizens of Israel must go to the United Nations to compel their government to expose secret statistical data.

The divorced fathers from Israel also said that the high numbers of suicide among divorced men was because family rights for divorced couples were very biased towards mothers and restricted access of men to children and the family home to a degree rarely seen in any other State.  The Committee members indeed noted on the transcript that the situation for divorced fathers was "apparently hellish."

The UN Committee also addressed the widespread practice of ex parte ne exeat orders against divorced men, and the restrictions on the fathers and children's rights to leave the country.  The UN members asked if it was true that divorced fathers were not allowed to leave Israel until they had paid approximately 20 years of alimony/child support. The Israeli delegation did not provide direct responses to these questions.

CCF was founded by Daniel Zer, a father, and a victim of sperm theft, who has not been able to see his own six-year-old son for over three years, because the child's mother does not want him to see him based on ideological grounds rooted in "women empowerment", and the social workers in Israel agreed with her that the child has no need for a father in his life, and that the child may be "traumatized" if after such a long time of disengagement he would be suddenly introduced to his father.  It was therefore recommended by the social workers that the child remain fatherless, while the father should keep paying full child support.

The father filed an Administrative Petition to the High Court of Justice in Jerusalem against the Minister of Welfare, Moshe Kahlon, and asked it to declare that UN conventions forbid the state from denying a child the right to family life and access without unreasonable government interference. The High Court of Justice, (J. Izaak Amit) refused to declare that fathers have rights to see their children, based on international law, stated that fathers should seek the relief of child access from the social worker appointed to them, and dismissed the petition sua sponte, without argument or a chance to file opposing papers.

Fathers 4 Justice Israel, another group of dedicated fathers which works with the Coalition for Children and Families, stated that fathers in Israel can carry M-16's in the IDF to protect the state, but are not allowed to carry their own children.  For example, a spokesperson told the Israel News Agency that representatives of Fathers 4 Justice Israel had gone to Haiti after the 2009 earthquake to aid hundreds of children there in rebuilding orphanages, providing clean water and food and making certain that the children had electricity and clean beds to sleep in.  After risking their lives in Haiti, these fathers returned to Israel and where they were denied contact with their own children.

"The severe suffering that these fathers and their children go though cannot be measured," said J from Fathers 4 Justice Israel, who cannot use his real name as a result of gag orders that the secret family courts apply. "The emotional abuse that these fathers and their children are subjected to often leaves permanent scars.  Many fathers commit suicide while the children's behavior remains greatly affected in terms of their being able to adjust to school, work, suffering from anxiety, depression and being able to create normal, healthy relationships."   "It's apparent that the Israel Ministry of Justice in Israel and Child Welfare departments simply do not care about the mental health of these fathers and their children. Hopefully, the UN can wake them up and place them in the spotlight for all global human rights organizations to see."

In response to the U.N.'s recommendations, efforts to continue to perpetuate the suppression of Israeli men during divorce are now launched from Australia, as a group of radical feminists in Australia, spearheaded by the hate-mongering group of Jennifer McIntosh, known in her home country as the "face of Satan", are meddling with the affairs of Israel, by trying to convince the public, judges and ministers, that the women's right side of their brains emits neurons that make women better parents.  This junk-science is being pumped up in Israel;i feminist circles to the ministers in charge, Yaakov Neemen and Moshe Kahlon, as reasons not to oppose equal physical custody and parental equality.

Readings:  Excerpts of the Transcript of Proceedings at the Committee of Economic Social & Cultural Rights ISRAEL (re: divorced fathers), Excerpts Conclusions of the 47th session of ICESCR re: divorced fathers in Israel  , UN Calls on Israel to Cancel 'Tender Years' Clause at Channel 7, UN: Israel Discriminates Against Fathers Robert Franklin, Esq.at Fathers & FamiliesUN: Israel Discriminates Against Divorced Fathers, Children, at Israel News Agency.

Coverage also in Jerusalem Post, UN calls on Israel to amend custody law By RUTH EGLASH 12/12/011.

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