An unbelievable example of where Israel’s Supreme Court approve in essence of the kidnapping and forcible conversion of a child of an Arab and Jewish couple. It combines religious coercion, biological and religious racism, the imposition of halacha (Jewish oral law) in a heady cocktail worthy of a theocracy.
|Biological parents' attorneys|
When Christian countries, as Richard Silverstein documents below, kidnapped Jewish children and coerced them into Catholicism, that was rightly held as anti-Semitic. The same is now true of the ‘Jewish’ state.
The fact that the child of a Jewish woman is considered Jewish in Jewish religious law should have nothing to do with a civil case involving the rights of the natural parent. It is a sad commentary on ‘the only democracy in the Middle East’ and demonstrates the thoroughly racist nature of the State of Israel.
by Richard Silverstein on October 8, 2015
Please, don’t talk to me about democracy. Don’t talk to me about religious pluralism. Because Israel’s Supreme Court just ratified the most racist child welfare ruling I could ever imagine.
A short introduction is in order: the child welfare system in Israel is draconian, arbitrary, capricious and all-powerful. It marshalls state power to an antiquated notion of normative cultural and family values. If you do not fit the consensus definition of a fit parent you will lose your children. And there will be nothing you can do about it. Once the system makes a determination against you, there is literally nothing you can do. Parental rights are nothing compared to the state’s power.
In tonight’s case, a Palestinian man married a Jewish woman and they had twins in 2010. Because the woman was mentally ill, child welfare officials removed the children from her care and placed them into foster care. The foster parents were Orthodox Jews. This decision was, of course, a violation of child welfare regulations according to Hannah Beit Halachmi, which require children to be fostered by parents of their own ethnicity. But when you work for the state in such capacity, the rules don’t apply.
The foster parents initially consulted with the father about major decisions including education, health, etc. They then requested to adopt the children. The father objected and sought to retain guardianship.
In an earlier decision, the lower court ruled entirely in favor of the father’s claims, finding the authorities acted deceitfully and trampled on the father’s rights. That they never considered him as a suitable parent, never offered him any assistance or training to help him deal with being a single father, and misled him into believing the children would be taken away temporarily, when authorities intended all along to offer the children permanently to the foster couple. Child welfare officials made false statements about both parents in order to justify their illegal actions in removing the children from the father’s care.
The Orthodox Jewish adoptive parents appealed this decision to the Supreme Court. In a truly bizarre ruling, the Court came up with a new theory of parental rights that enabled it to rip the children from their father and award them to adoptive parents who would convert the children to Orthodox Judaism and reject every vestige of their father’s ethnic identity. The justices placed a fig leaf over the decision by declaring that the father would retain guardianship (in order to “preserve his dignity” according to the racist phrasing of the Ynet article), but just not be entitled to make any significant decision about their care or upbringing:
The Supreme Court ruled that the foster parents can decide on issues such as education, nutrition, health and other issues related to the lives of the girls, but they would have to consult with the biological parent on outstanding issues such as surgery. In other words, the biological father will remain the guardian “of honor” but the job of raising them will be almost completely in the foster care family’s purview.
“Honor” like this I’m sure he can do without. This is a totally invented judicial construct which is something like the Christian concept of “godfather.” An honor without substance. It is a sham ruling that usurps the father’s real and natural rights. Besides losing the rights enumerated above, the justices reduced his visitation rights to once every two weeks.
The justice who wrote the majority decision, Elyakim Rubinstein, is an Orthodox Jew. I have no doubt that he is offended by ‘miscegenation,’ the intermarriage of Jews and Muslims. The idea that a Muslim father would raise the child of a Jewish mother as Muslim, he must certainly have found objectionable. But he could not articulate a legal ruling in such a fashion since it would be rightfully derided as racist, so he created an artificial legal fig leaf and used it to conceal his underlying motivation.
Israeli family law expert, Yossi Nakar, adds that Israeli law specifies clearly that the religion of a child may only be determined by its parents and with their consent. In the absence of these children’s mother, this duty would fall to the father. Since the Court refused to grant the foster parents full custody of the twins, they should have no right under Israeli law to determine what religion these children should have.
Israelis who’ve supported the Court’s ruling have done so arguing the children are Jewish under Israeli law because the mother was Jewish. This is false. Israeli civil law does not adhere to halacha in this matter. But it is telling that pro-Israel advocates assume Israel is essentially a theocracy that strictly adheres to halacha.
In a nod to Jewish dietary law, which rules that the consumption of anything that crawls on the ground to be taboo, Nakar called Rubinstein’s decision “making a beetle kosher.” In this case, the attorney is speaking of the Israeli child welfare system, which the lower court judge criticized bitterly for its mismanagement of this case. It is the treif insect that is somehow transformed into a kosher morsel in Rubinstein’s decision.
This is the very same Supreme Court liberal Zionists celebrate as a champion of human rights and democratic values. Of course, they forget Justice Aharon Barak hasn’t been the chief justice for a decade or more. Now, there are even proud settlers sitting on the Court.
I do not believe that any child welfare authority of any western nation would make such a racist decision. They would first seek a Muslim family for foster parents for such children. They would never permit such an alienation of affection and identity between children and parent.
Beit Halachmi, in her own denunciation of the case in Facebook, called it “state-approved child-trafficking.” Other Israeli child welfare activists accuse social welfare officials of collusion with Jewish parents seeking to adopt children. They say that having a single agency charged both with removing children from parental custody and offering children up for adoption has a built in conflict of interest. Such an authority would be more inclined to remove children if they had adoptive Jewish parents ready to take such children.
This is indeed what happened in this instance. This activist website calls what happened to this Palestinian father “trafficking on behalf of the adoption industry.” There are even rumors that adoptive parents may pay off welfare authorities to find them children to adopt. Given the level of corruption in Israeli government agencies this is an entirely possible scenario.
When the Catholic Church Stole a Jewish Baby
The irony of this brutal decision is informed by an important precedent in European Jewish history. In the late 19th century, Italian Jewish parents gave birth to a child, Edgaro Mortara. The family employed a Christian woman as a maid. When the boy suffered a life-threatening illness, unbeknownst to the parent’s she performed an emergency baptism. Of course, she believed that this had saved his life. By rights of baptism, the Church recognized the baby as Catholic. The law stated that no Jew might raise a Christian baby. So the child was forcibly removed from his home by Italian police.
The Church permitted his parents to visit him in an orphanage. But they could have their son back only if they converted to Catholicism, which they refused. Eventually, the pope himself took Edgaro into his household and later became a priest. He spent much of his life traveling the world to convert Jews. Most of his efforts were a failure. When he came to New York and preached at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, asking for the local Cardinals support in his evangelizing efforts, the prelate refused. The Cardinal believed it would antagonize the local Jewish community, with whom he sought to remain on good terms.
In this case, the rights of the Jewish family were trampled. As a minority with few rights in Italy, the Jewish community could do little more than protest. Even such protest carried little weight in a state ruled by Catholic religious dogma. The Israeli decision isn’t dissimilar. Justices have taken it upon themselves to determine that Orthodox Jews may essentially steal a father’s children from him, from his religion, and from his ethnic community.
Returning to the absolute power of child welfare authorities, last year a Canadian woman, Hana Gan, who had made aliyah in 2014, decided to return home with her two-children while she was five months pregnant. Her parents, also living in Israel, refused to permit her to leave and tried to gain guardianship of the two boys. The mother claims her parents want her children to be raised Orthodox and object to her not being observant. When she tried to board a flight at Ben Gurion, she was denied the right to do so. She then turned to friends who hid her and her children in a safe house. The police discovered her whereabouts and brought a court order permitting them to forcibly remove the children from her care. Now she’s lost her children and lost her freedom, as she cannot leave Israel.
In unusual decision, Supreme Court rules that a religious foster family who received twin daughters aged 5 will fully determine how they are raised.
YNet 10.07.15, 23:04 / Israel News
The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday in an extraordinary decision that a Muslim Arab who was born in Nablus and resided in Israel will continue to serve as the guardian of his twin daughters aged 5, but at the same time the foster family will be responsible for how they are brought up.
The twins were born in 2010 to their Muslim father and a mentally ill Jewish woman, who recently committed suicide. A few days after their birth, the twins were transferred to the welfare authorities and were handed over to an observant Jewish foster family. The foster parents requested to adopt the children, but the father refused and asked to remain their guardian.
After a legal dispute lasting years, the Supreme Court ruled that the father will continue to be the guardian so as to retain his dignity, but the upbringing will be done by the foster parents who will also receive the status of guardians with broad powers.
The biological father of the twins
In its decision the Supreme defined a new concept called "strong foster care", namely long-term foster care which is not adoption, but is not exactly normal foster care, allowing the keeping of a child on a temporary arrangement for a certain period of time.
The Supreme Court ruled that the foster parents can decide on issues such as education, nutrition, health and other issues related to the lives of the girls, but they would have to consult with the biological parent on outstanding issues such as surgery. In other words, the biological father will remain the guardian "of honor" but the job of raising them will be almost completely in the foster care family’s purview.
Attorney Ronen Dalyahu, who represented the foster family
The struggle began in 2013 when the attorney general requested to declare the two girls capable of being adopted by a foster family. The Family Court determined that there was no justification for adoption and gave the foster family custody of the girls concurrently with the biological father's custody. The court then ruled that the foster parents would decide on day-to-day issues but would have to listen to the father's opinion on issues such as education and health. In other words, the foster parents would be responsible for the girls but would have to consult with the biological father on almost every issue important to their upbringing.
Attorneys Hadar and Shapira who represented the biological father
The foster family, represented by attorney Dr. Ronen Dalyahu and the Attorney General's Office, decided to appeal to the Supreme Court. The biological father, represented by attorneys Amikam Hadar and Hedva Shapira, claimed that the decision to give the children to a religious Jewish family was unwise and requested that the original ruling be retained.
A court expert ruled that the biological father did indeed have certain parental capacities, but found he could not address all of the girls’ needs. In addition, the expert recommended changing the girls’ family names to that of the foster family’s.
"We have often had the occasion to say that adoption files are perhaps the most difficult to rule on, sometimes dealing with heartbreaking situations where all parties are in the right, and there is no optimal solution that will leave no hearts unbroken," wrote Elyakim Rubinstein, Vice President of the Supreme Court, in his ruling.
Rubinstein ruled that although there is no place for adoption, he found a middle way between adoption and foster care - namely the ‘strong foster care’. The Supreme Court ruled, with the the biological father’s consent, that the girls will change their last names to include the foster parents' family name as well, and ruled that they will be educated in public religious schools. The Supreme Court also decided to reduce the number of meetings with the father and so the girls will meet with him only once every two weeks.
Lawyers Hadar and Shapiro, representing the biological father, said: "We are pleased with the balanced ruling. The court found an important middle way which combines foster care and adoption."
Ronen Daliyahu, representing the foster parents, said in response: "We are very pleased that we managed to convince the Supreme Court of the interests of the babies overrides any other interest. The framework set up will allow the girls to grow up in peace and quiet in the care of the foster care family who will be solely responsible for taking decisions about them."