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Israeli Child Abduction Laws

Anat Levi
Anat Levi

This article addresses Israeli child abduction laws and provides you with information to help you address child abduction cases.Israeli child abduction laws

Israeli Child Abduction Laws and the Hague Convention

Israel is a signatory to the Hague Convention of 1980, which addresses the issue of abduction or non-return of children from countries that is their regular place of residence.  

There are two primary types of abduction: removal and retention.  Removal occurs when a child is taken from Israel to another country without the consent (or in violation of the visitation rights) of another parent or legal guardian who has some form of custody of the child.  Retention occurs when a child was knowingly taken from a country, with consent, but then fails to return to Israel. This second example most often occurs when a parent decides to take a child abroad under the pretenses of a holiday, and then they do not intend to return (and by extension, return the child).  

The Objectives of the Hague Convention

The Hague Convention has a number of objectives, including:

  1. Returning abducted children to their countries of habitual residence as soon as possible.
  2. Encouraging collaboration between countries that sign the convention to allow for abducted children to be quickly returned to their homes so all parents with custody or visitation rights may continue with this.
  3. Preventing parents or legal guardians from taking unilateral steps about their children.
  4. Protecting children from harm due to displacement from their habitual residence.

Conditions for the Hague Convention to Apply

In order for the Hague Convention to apply, a number of conditions must be met.  These include: 

  1. The state the child was abducted from and to are both signatories of the convention.  This will allow for cooperation between the countries.
  2. The child must be under the age of 16 when abducted. 
  3. The parent who is claiming that their child was abducted has legal custody or visitation rights, and these rights have been enforced by that parent prior to the children being taken or retained in another country.  (For example, if one has visitation rights, but never uses them prior to the children being taken from the country, it will weaken their case in the Israeli court.) 
  4. Legal proceedings should preferably be opened less than one year from the date of the child’s abduction.  It is possible for the child to be returned after this point, but the court can take into consideration the legal exception that the child will have acclimated to their new residence, and uprooting them can cause further displacement and harm to the child.  (If more than a year has passed, the other parent can argue that this indicates the remaining parent’s passive agreement to the arrangement and that uprooting their child will cause them harm.)

How Long Will It Take

According to the Hague Convention, the local courts (in Israel — the family court) will hear the claim within 15 days of its filing.  Additionally, the court must give a response within six weeks from the date the claim was filed.  

Other Measures That Can Be Taken

During the filing period, between the 15 days and up to six weeks, the parent filing the abduction claim can ask for further regulations that will prevent their child from being taken to a third country during the interim period.  

This Series of Articles

This article is one in a longer series on child abduction in Israel.  We have also written about the legal procedures and steps of the process, how to choose a child abduction lawyer, how to legally relocate with your children, and more.  

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Our law office specializes in family law, among other legal fields.  Advocate Anat Levi focuses on family law. Contact us for legal assistance filing a claim on child abduction.

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