Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
Opinion Editorials, April 2015
Chained Fathers, Trapped Mothers, Stolen Children
By Marianne Azizi
Redress, Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, April 20 2015
Last year I wrote about American citizen Rick Myers who was held in Israel against his will, despite not being an Israeli citizen. His story prompted a regular input into my inbox. So many foreign, dual and Israeli nationals find themselves trapped in Israel.
My own book, Sour Milk and Stolen Honey, tells the story of how mental disintegration and despair takes a hold on those trapped in Israel, until they give up their original dreams of a normal life. In my own case, my former husband and I travelled to Israel with the intention of staying for only a week! Nine years later, instead of what should have been an uninterrupted freedom of choice, all dreams and hopes are shattered.
You will have read about a few people who immigrated to Israel [“made aliyah” in Zionist parlance], yet my own story came about from a quick visit, and there are thousands of Israel-born people who can only dream of a life outside the country.
One in 72 divorcing fathers commits suicide, an astronomical figure – one of the highest in the developed world – leaving thousands of kids without their dad.
The system is indiscriminate. It comes to full force during marriage breakups. First, the father is removed from the picture and child support – while a reasonable requirement – can be set at almost 100 per cent of the man’s salary, in many cases even more. The mother’s salary is ring-fenced against negotiations. One in 72 divorcing fathers commits suicide, an astronomical figure – one of the highest in the developed world – leaving thousands of kids without their dad. Since I got involved with the Israeli “justice” system, over a thousand fathers chose to take their own lives. Countless children are paying a huge emotional price for the system which pushes so hard for unpayable amounts of dollars. It is unimaginable that any outside beliefs can endorse such hardship for children.
The divorce system is very complicated. Only a religious court is able to grant a divorce (get). Generally, both parties have to agree. If one person is recalcitrant, then steps are taken to “force” that person into divorce. The financial settlement is often dealt with by the civil (family) court. At this point a lot of leverage can exerted to get the best deal before the divorce is finally agreed.
In my situation, my husband’s “ex”-wife didn’t agree to divorce – she had major financial aspirations. People who have not experienced the court procedure in Israel may find it is difficult to believe that a No Exit Order is easy to obtain.
In the case of my former husband, he was paying over four times more child support from the UK than when he became trapped in Israel. The plan was to collect 20 years plus in cash up front so that he can be free again. However, his ex-wife demanded 36 years’s payments, which equated to an age greater than his at the time!
Mothers who are working hard and trying to make ends meet can… sign a document stating they are in need and, by so doing – and in the small print – they unwittingly give away their children!
It is light years ago since I remember the life I fought so hard to get back. Time heals us all, eventually.
The system doesn’t stop with the fathers. Mothers who are working hard and trying to make ends meet can find themselves in need of help. They sign a document stating they are in need and, by so doing – and in the small print – they unwittingly give away their children!
Last week I learned that a young Israeli woman who lost her children nearly five years ago as a result of false accusations continued to post pictures of them. She was told that if she carried on doing this, she would be imprisoned. If her children were dead, it would be acceptable to post pictures of them but, as she is the bereaved parent of living children, it is not permitted to do so.
Also, last week I heard from a British woman who made immigrated to Israel 15 years ago. She was held in Israel against her will for eight years, and her family in Britain paid over GBP 60,000 for her to be able to return. People who have escaped still live in fear of the extended hand of the Israeli courts which continue to try to extort homes, bank accounts and extended families. She is finally home in Britain living in fear that the Israeli authorities will continue to condone the appalling behaviour of her ex-husband.
What possesses a country to want to hold people in this way? The concept of keeping people prisoners in this way is beyond the comprehension of most people in the West.
We all get into a little debt these days, but a missed payment in the West does not lead to a prison sentence. In Israel it can mean a person can never leave the country for decades – in fact, over half a million Israelis are trapped this way.
How can it be anti-Semitic if Israelis themselves are crying out for help? For all the Jewish or Zionists who read this, how can you deny what Israelis themselves are saying?
In a very short time I shall be able to film and interview people who are begging the West for help. They want to be seen as people, not as representatives of their government. A film crew from Canada will also take part.
How can it be anti-Semitic if Israelis themselves are crying out for help? For all the Jewish or Zionists who read this, how can you deny what Israelis themselves are saying? How can an Israeli Jew be anti-Semitic?
This week Hana Gan, the trapped Canadian woman, spent nearly nine hours with her children in an unsupervised situation due to the public holidays. Today she was expected to revert back to seeing her children for one hour in a sterile contact centre.
The lack of humanity is breath-taking. She chooses not to live in Israel, yet she has been punished for months for this. Hana is only nine weeks away from child birth, unable to be with her living sons and trapped in a country she would prefer to leave. Yet, she is forced to get a job and to undergo enforced psychiatric tests. She currently runs the risk of her new baby being taken from her in the delivery room, a not uncommon phenomenon.
What right does the Israeli government have to force her into staying, force her into getting a job with only nine weeks before giving birth? Yet, she is declared a dangerous woman purely because she wants to take her family home to Canada. You can find this an other information in the Trapped in Israel page on Facebook.
How many deaths and stolen children will it take before those who believe in the state of Israel listen to those who have to exist inside it?
Is Israel’s right to exist such a right that it demands merely an existence from its citizens? Many people would prefer a life. If Israel wants to use a fear of its Arab neighbours as a means to hold people in the country, it is definitely the wrong approach.
When are the Zionists going to accept the reality of the situation on the ground? Is Israel’s right to exist ideologically so important that Israelis themselves must cease to exist?
Israelis are crying out for help and for someone to listen. We are giving each one a voice, and still the Zionists don’t want to listen. How many deaths and stolen children will it take before those who believe in the state of Israel listen to those who have to exist inside it?
I have chosen to risk my life to expose the truth. Will those who believe in the State of Israel from the comfort of their armchairs dare to disagree with those Israelis on the ground who are battling every single hour of their days to make change? We defy those in the USA and Europe to argue with people who are living this nightmare every single day of their lives.
As many Israelis say, unless the Israeli government treats its own people as human beings, what chance is there for peace with Israel’s neighbours?
It is the responsibility of everyone who believes both in the existence or the destruction of the Israeli State to acknowledge the people who are suffering for merely rhetoric.
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