Israel, like the United States, is a land of immigrants. As the 'homeland' of Jews dispersed throughout the world, it has been a magnet for immigration. Israeli history has witnessed several 'waves' of immigration. Over the last 15 years there has been a huge wave of immigration from the former USSR countries, which became independent states, and from South America. ‘Making Aliyah’ or immigrating to Israel has been a dream of many Jews from the West – particularly Anglo-Saxon countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, South Africa, Australia and Canada. An increase in immigration from France has also been seen in recent years.
With Jerusalem, the centre of the world's three main religions, as its capital, Israel has always attracted people from outside, especially Christians. Furthermore, the kibbutz is unique to Israel and has traditionally attracted young people from all over the world. Many relationships and marriages were forged between kibbutz members and volunteers from abroad.
For all these reasons, multi-cultural and/or mixed religious marriages are common in Israel. These are recognized as being difficult, challenging, problematic, or doomed to failure, depending on one's viewpoint. Furthermore, over the years, there has been a general increase in the social legitimization of separation and divorce, and the rates of marital breakdown have increased over the years. Today one in three marriages end in divorce.
When relationships break down, and one of the parties originates from abroad, the potential for child abduction is clear. Where the mother, for example, is originally from abroad, and the relationship has broken down, she may feel desperate, lonely, isolated, and wish to return ‘home’ with her children, to her native land, where she feels more in control, has support from her family, and has better employment opportunities.
Holiday periods – during the summer vacation, Chanukah/Christmas and Pesach/Easter holidays – represent the classic ‘abduction’ seasons.