Israeli Supreme Court Approves “Child Trafficking” of Muslim Children
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.
22 thoughts on “Israeli Supreme Court Approves “Child Trafficking” of Muslim Children – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
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RS you amaze me. You are like a magician that can twist anything for your agenda. These children are considered Jewish by Jewish law and state law so they should be given over to an Arab?
And just take a look at your own US government who last night was undecided whether or not the stabbings in Jerusalem were actually terrorists attacks or not.
America has become the ‘great parody’ where nothing can have definition as the great Obamination continues to destroy the America that you and I grew up in.
@ shemtov: Are you conceding then that Israel is a theocracy ruled by halacha? I strongly doubt Israel civil law finds a child with a living father & dead mother to be of a different religion than his. Further, yes he is the father and the only remaining living parent, so yes the children should be his.
Read the comment rules. DO not introduce off topic subjects. Comments must deal with the topic of the post.
I find such language repugnant. YOu can smear and demean anyone you wish as Israelis do toward anyone they hate (Palestinians, leftists, etc). But you can’t do that here. I won’t have my comment threads turned into the sort of cesspool you ‘enjoy’ in Israel. You show basic respect to the president or you’re gone in a second.
“so they should be given over to an Arab?”
‘An Arab’!? Unbelievable: He is their FATHER!
It seems only Jews are human being to you. Scary.
“They would first seek a Muslim family for foster parents for such children.”
Richard. Up until recently, the Jewish biological mother was alive.
Are you suggesting that once the Jewish mother died, Child Welfare should have taken the twins from their foster parents and given them to a Muslim foster family?
I doubt any Child Welfare agency would have interrupted the twins care and done that.
More important than that, “Lawyers Hadar and Shapiro, representing the biological father, said: “We are pleased with the balanced ruling.”
It sounds like everyone is happy here. No?
A. Based on religions rules, These children are both Jewish and Muslim, and belong to both nationalities. Hence, if they must go to foster family, not so clear as to it’s nationality / religion.
You could argue those children should have stayed home, But we don’t have enough info to have such a decision, and Beit Halachmi is known to have an agenda against fostering and the social system.
B. I have heard claims as to draconian nature of welfare system towards separated/divorced parents in US too. Syspect the nature of such systems makes their decisions to be “pro local norm”
C. There was a recent court decision about adopting a child which still had family members whom wanted to grow her. Which was as controversial, In that case her family was Jewish (of Ethiopian decent) . Which goes back to item B – it seems welfare systems tend to think of “good for child future” in terms of “more similar to social worker”.
@ Israeli: There are only Jewish according to halacha. And their mother is dead. The tie to their Jewishness is tenuous at best. Their father is very much alive & he is Muslim. Israeli civil law in fact determines that parents decide what the religion of their children are. Since there is only one parent alive, that decision is the father’s alone. Not the foster parents as this atrocious Supreme Court ruling would have it.
Hannah Beit Halachmi’s so-called “agenda” is for justice, fairness, equity, transparency and accountability–qualities the Israeli welfare system lacks entirely. Her criticisms of it are entirely justified.
The U.S. child welfare system is generally fair & equitable and recognizes parental rights except in very, very rare cases. This would not be one of the cases in which it would agree to deny such rights. Also, as you offer no proof for your claim, it can’t be assessed at all.
1. Your first sentence: ” There are only Jewish according to halacha.” is misleading, because , it’s also true that they are only Muslim according to Sharia (Muslim law), Religious affiliation is decided by religious law.
2. Please show me where “Israeli civil law in fact determines that parents decide what the religion of their children are”, Israel civillaw about ALL religions gives the sovereignty to the religions (not that I am happy for it, as an Atheist liming in Israel, But you are too respected for such statements).
3. The fact this case has arrived to the supreme court shows the civil judicial authority in Israel does consider such issues to be of importance, And the father did get his day in court. Further, his own lawyer claimed the decision was balanced, which implies there are some facts we are un-aware of.
4. I am glad you agree with the fact that Hannah Beit Halachmi’s has an agenda, related to how childcare should be. I often agree with her when reading her articles (though not in all cases). But, I have yet to find the article in which she supported the “organizational decision” in almost any issue related to childcare services. So, siting her as a reference against one decision, is misleading.
5. I don’t want to share details of those I know, so I googled “U.S. child welfare system unfair” and got millions of results. It’s not surprising, since child welfare systems have a difficult job even when the cases are “just humanitarian”, and once you have added elements (religion, color/race, nationality) you get an even more complex mix.
You claim this case is special in the bad treatment of the father because he is Muslim vs Orthdox Jews. My claim is that this case is special, in it’s complication, but the father did get a similar standing to others in such cases.
I can’t claim to agree or disagree with the ruling, since I don’t know the details, e.g. – why did social services get the children while they were new-born ? Was the father un-fit to raise them?
I don’t even claim the child welfare system is “enerally fair & equitable and recognizes parental rights except in very, very rare cases”, I have seen too many cases in which it was not so, regardless of this particular case. A few months ago there was a news story about social services reducing the rights of mothers who left the orthodox community, And before that, there were other cases in which I disagreed with the decisions.
However, unlike you, I don’t mistake my disagreement with court/social service ruling to be an indication of discrimination.
Your claim is false as I’ve already written here. This is the civil law determining the religious affiliation of children, and it has NOTHING to do with religious law:
Which makes the following claim of yours irrelevant:
For the purpose of civil law, Israel says that the religion of the parent’s (both parents) determine the religion of the child. Orthodox Judaism can determine whatever it wishes about the religion of the children. But under Israeli civil law they are Muslim, not Jewish.
A lie. A Muslim father was deprived of his right to parenthood by a racist Orthodox Jewish justice in a sham decision that is revolting.
Nothing of the sort. I don’t trust the statement of the man’s attorney as far as I can throw it. These lawyers know they will have to appear before the Supreme Court in future and they do not wish to antagonize the justices unecessarily. The lawyer’s statement was shameful & makes me question how diligently he represented his client altogether.
Again a lie. You clearly understand that I flatly rejected your claim that she has an “agenda” against “how childcare should be” (which isn’t an articulate phrase in English). Her only agenda is fairness, balance & equity. That is an agenda every court and child welfare system is supposed to uphold. Israel’s system tramples on these values. Don’t you dare twist my words in future like this.
That’s about as definitive and probitive as saying “I googled ‘Jews drink baby blood’ and found millions of results.” What does it mean? That Jews really do drink blood and that the U.S. child welfare system is unfair? Sure in some circumstances it is. But in the overwhelming majority both child welfare services and the family court system base their decisions on following regulations and doing what’s in the best interests of the child. In the U.S. system, foster parents have no standing whatsoever before the courts and this case could never have been brought by these people. The children would automatically go to the father. BTW, this is the Israeli rule as well. But only by twisting the rules and elevating foster parents to adoptive parents (which they weren’t) could he craft such an ugly decision.
What “standing” did the father get? He got no standing. His parental rights were trampled asunder. Are you claiming that other Muslim fathers are similarly deprived of their children? BTW, can you find a single other case in all of Israeli family law in which a child of a Jewish father was awarded to an Orthodox Muslim couple? GO ahead find one. I dare you.
These Family Court cases are always complex, and therefore not easily explained by journalists.
For instance, compare what Hana Gan claims, “The mother claims her parents want her children to be raised Orthodox and object to her not being observant.”, with what the children’s grandparents are claiming.
Add in impressionable little kids, adversarial lawyers and civil procedure, and you have a ‘big balagan’.
@ Lost: No, the case of the twins isn’t complex at all. The Israeli welfare & judicial system have stripped the father of parental rights. Plain & simple.
As for the Gan case, that’s also simple. She’s the mother. She gets to decide where to live. Grandparents should never trump the mother in making such decisions, whether you or the state like it or not.
The twins, when they grow up, will rebel against their Jewish ultra-orthodox foster parents and become passionate freedom-fighters for the Palestinian cause. They will strongly resent that they were taken from their father. So, this atrocity will back-fire on the fascist Jewish government.
This reminds me strongly of the “stolen children” issue here in Australia. For about three quarters of a century, until about 1970, various state and federal legislation authorised the police to forcibly remove half caste aboriginal children, or those who were deemed to be such because of the light colour of their skin, from their mothers and place them in special institutions (where as with almost all other institutions of this kind they were not infrequently subject to sexual assault). The original idea was that the boys would ultimately be agricultural labourers and the girls domestic servants.
The motivation was thoroughly racist of course but there is some evidence, inter alias provided by the distinguished biologist/anthropologist Walter Baldwin Spencer, that half caste c children often were abandoned.
Only in the 1980’s did this issue get the attention it deserved after a governmental commission came out with the Bringing Them Home Report which estimated that between thirty and one hundred thousand children had been subjected to this practice. The trustworthy social commentator, Professor Robert Manne, puts the figure at between 20 to 30,000.
Apologies were issued at various levels but the waiting was for the federal government to come up with this. The conservative government under John Howard originally resisted this because it had all been done under valid legislation. Finally, in February 2008, the then labour government under Kevin Rudd, came up with a formal apology in which ultimately the conservative opposition joined. Part of the text of the apology follows :
That today we honour the Indigenous peoples of this land, the oldest continuing cultures in human history.
We reflect on their past mistreatment.
We reflect in particular on the mistreatment of those who were Stolen Generations—this blemished chapter in our nation’s history.
The time has now come for the nation to turn a new page in Australia’s history by righting the wrongs of the past and so moving forward with confidence to the future.
We apologise for the laws and policies of successive Parliaments and governments that have inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss on these our fellow Australians.
We apologise especially for the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families, their communities and their country.
For the pain, suffering, and hurt of these Stolen Generations, their descendants and for their families left behind, we say sorry.
To the mothers and the fathers, the brothers and the sisters, for the breaking up of families and communities, we say sorry.
And for the indignity and degradation thus inflicted on a proud people and a proud culture, we say sorry.
We the Parliament of Australia respectfully request that this apology be received in the spirit in which it is offered as part of the healing of the nation.”
There is however no legal redress for this wrong as it was all done under valid legislation. Yet, in individual cases, where there was a clear paper trail of deceit and the resulting harm could be made plausible,compensation has been awarded.
It will be a long time, I fear, before Israel will come around to an acknowledgement of the suffering it has inflicted on the Palestinians, also in cases such as this.
I should add that some of these children were placed with white foster parents which makes the racist character of the whole enterprise even clearer.
[This is a comment rule violation. Comments must be substantive. A comment consisting of just a link, especially one promoting yr own blog, is not. Read the comment rules and respect them. ]
I began this article expecting to read about child trafficking.
Child trafficking is a horrible event that has little in common with the legal disputes described above. I am disappointed that someone would attempt to co-opt the term for the horror of child trafficking to promote their own personal disapproval of a family law and child welfare ruling. In such a tactic is no consistent with intellectual integrity and open and honest discourse.
@randall: You began this article looking for an angle to use against the post that would conceal your real purpose which was hasbara.
Further, you don’t know anything about Israel. If you did, you’d realize that it was Israeli child welfare advocates who accused child welfare services of trafficking. When government officials forcibly take a child from his father & give it to adoptive parents violating every rule, that is child trafficking.
” When government officials forcibly take a child from his father & give it to adoptive parents violating every rule”
In the instant case, the twins were moved into foster care within days of their birth. Obviously neither parent was fit to raise infants. The government’s initial motives were, therefor, probably justified.
I stress that there is a lot about this case that we don’t know about. A facile rendering of the case does no one any good.
@ Lost: Nothing of what you claim is “obvious.” Nor does a government agency get validated because it’s “motives” were “justified.” If that were the case then any dictator can say anytime he likes that his motives were just. Nor is there “a lot” about this case we don’t know. All the evidence is in the two articles 2 which I linked. You are only making this claim because everything we DO know about this case is so deeply troubling. You would have us believe that this must mean there are deeper hidden reasons the Israeli system trammeled on this father’s rights. But there aren’t.
But even if they were not fit parents (which the lower court judge & I completely dispute), there are rules that must be followed in such circumstances. You don’t just remove a child without turning to a court to get permission. In such a case, the parents are represented as well as the child’s interests. A hearing is held. Child welfare isn’t a dictatorship. It has regulations. And if you read the lower court ruling you find that they violated every rule in place.
In the 17th Century the Portuguese Catholic government removed children from Jewish and, I believe, converso families and shipped them to a Portuguese island in the Atlantic Ocean without the consent of their parents to be raised as Christians. It is deeply shameful that the government of Israel seems to have forgotten what was once done to Jewish children.
How sad and wrong ! But not surprised at anything evil the “Israeli” or “US” government does.
Remember The Ringworm Children? Both evil governments were involved in that too. This is the Israeli docu about it. Has English subtitles
The case reminds me of the Yemenite Children Affair (פרשת ילדי תימן).
BTW, neither halakhah nor sharia have any concept of adoption.