Child's Objections - Strict Interpretation: My Israeli ex-wife has failed to return our 11 year old child from a holiday in Israel, to Canada, alleging that he objects to going home. She said that if I brought Child abduction proceedings against her that the court in Israel would listen to him. How open are Israeli courts to listening to children's views?

Israeli courts are quite open in that they respect their international commitment to let minors have a say in legal proceedings concerning them, providing they are of sufficient age and maturity. As a rule of thumb the voice of a 10 year old will be heard. Having said that, the Supreme Court has re-iterated the need for a very strict interpretation of Hague Convention defences in child abduction proceedings, in recent rulings in 2006 and 2007. In April 2007, the Supreme Court stressed that a very strict interpretation must be given to the defence of a child's objection, when it refused a mother permission to appeal against a District Court (first level appeal) ruling rejecting the objections of siblings, aged 12 and 10, to being returned to Holland. Prior to this, at the family court (first instance) the minors' objections had been accepted as a defence. Thus, even if a child's objections are accepted at first instance, it is likely that they could be overruled on appeal, especially in the light of recent Supreme Court directions emphasizing the need for a very narrow interpretation of the defence, to achieve a correct balance with the aims of the Hague Convention, the securing of a swift and prompt return of abducted minors. In this case, not only did the father have joint custody under a Dutch court ruling, but the mother blatantly infringed a court order prohibiting her from taking the minors outside of Holland.
Abduction To Israel