In Israeli law, both parents (whether they are married or not) have shared ‘parental responsibility’ or ‘guardianship’ of their children under the Legal Capacity and Guardianship Law 1962 . This is the law in Israel regardless of the religion of the child or parents and unless expressly taken away or relinquished in a court ruling. They are supposed to make decisions jointly – and if they cannot agree on a guardianship issue, then each parent is entitled to apply to court, for appropriate relief, and the court will decide.
Where parents live separately they may (but are not obliged) to come to an agreement about custody and access/contact and other guardianship issues. Such an agreement requires court authorization, and will be authorized only after the court is satisfied that it is in the “child’s good”. It could include specific conditions about foreign travel with either parent – and specify that the children are habitually resident in Israel.
If parties cannot agree, or the agreement is not carried out, then the court has jurisdiction to decide, with the “child’s good” being the supreme factor. Mothers of children under 6 are the preferred custodians, by law, unless there is a special reason otherwise.
Despite this, under Israeli law, unlike the situation in some countries, a mother is not normally entitled to remove a child from Israel to another country without the permission of the father (irrespective of whether they are married, cohabiting, divorced or unmarried) – even if she has sole custody.
Repeated recommendations to cancel or reduce this bias have not yet resulted in a formal change in the law. However, courts have been putting other reform recommendations into practice and in recent years are increasingly awarding joint (physical custody) or “ joint parental responsibility” with substantial “parenting time”.Terminology is changing from the terms ‘custody’ and ‘contact’/’access’/visitation rights ( although these are still used in the context of child abduction ) and the tendency is to set “ joint parental responsibility” (guardianship) and to set “parental time”.