Richard Silverstein wrote in Tikkun OLam in 2015:
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.
…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…
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…
Read full article