Preventing Abduction

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A parent, who suspects that the other parent may try and abduct their mutual child, can be vigilant regarding the issue or renewal of passports, especially if the child has dual nationality. Consulates of different countries operate different policies regarding this, and a worried parent should check these out for himself. A further precaution is to photocopy the relevant page of a child's passport, or the other parent's passport where the child appears, or make a note of the numbers.

It is sensible to keep up to date pictures of the children, and their heights and distinctive features in case of abduction, when descriptions are vital.

The Ministry of Interior, which is responsible for issuing passports to its citizens, recognizes that parental guardianship under Israeli law includes the power of one parent to veto the issue of a passport to a child under 18.

Strict procedures govern the issuing of passports for minors, as precautionary  measures. In certain circumstances one signature may be sufficient ( e.g. where no paternity is registered, or according to a court judgment, the other parent's signature is not required, or the parent applying has sole guardianship. Also if parents are married, and no notice has been received that the other parent objects to a passport being issued, then one of them can act alone).

However, in certain circumstances two signatures are required (e.g. where the mother is single and paternity is registered, or where parents are divorced, and there is no court  judgment providing otherwise. Also, if the parents are married, but it has been reported that they separated or that one of them objects to a passport being issued for the child).

Children's passports are for five years and the minors themselves are required to appear in person. Children can no longer be listed on a parent's Israeli passport. A child who is an Israeli citizen is supposed to leave and enter Israel on an Israeli passport.

Regarding Israeli passports issued at Consulates abroad, the procedures are different, but the principle exists that Israeli passports should not be issued outside of Israel without the knowledge and consent of a non-Israeli parent.

In practice, however, it has been known for Israeli citizens abroad to manage to get Israeli passports for their children at very short notice, in alleged 'emergency' situations without the knowledge and consent of the other, non-Israeli parent abroad.

Where a child has dual nationality, having a foreign as well as an Israeli passport, the situation is more complicated, as although he/she is supposed to leave Israel on the Israeli passport, it is possible to do so on a foreign passport.

Physical presence of the parent who does not apply for the passport may not be needed. The details of the foreign passport may not be known to the other parent, and may therefore elude a 'stop order' issued by an Israeli court. It is, therefore, advisable, where possible, to keep a note of children's foreign passport details.

The US has changed its policy about issuing passports to children. Both parents must attend in person for a child to be issued a US passport. The US Embassy in Israel co-operates with the Israeli authorities with information about the issuing of passports where a possible abduction is suspected.

A parent who suspects that a child with US citizenship who is habitually resident in Israel might be abducted out of Israel can notify the US embassy. He/she can request that a new passport should not be issued, if, for example, an Israeli court rules on a dispute between the parents.

Certain other embassies may also co-operate in this way, but there is a general policy of not trying to make life difficult for a citizen of that country who wishes to take out a passport for a child. It is generally regarded as up to the other parent to get legal advice and, if necessary, apply for a 'stop order' to prevent the minor leaving Israel if there is a fear of abduction.

This may be possible, in certain circumstances, as domestic Israeli legislation does recognize foetal rights and a Family Court could appoint a guardian for the foetus and possibly grant a 'stop order' for its removal from Israel while in the mother's womb. This area of law is complex.
In the face of opposition by one parent to the issue or renewal of a child's Israeli passport, the other parent can bring a legal action at the Family Court.

After hearing the reaction of the objecting parent and the Ministry of the Interior, the court can decide whether opposition to the issue/renewal of the passport is justified or not. If it is not, the court can order the Ministry of Interior to issue/renew the minor's passport.
No, as long as she does not leave England for more than one month. English law generally allows a parent to take a child out of the country temporarily for up to one month without the permission of the other parent, even though where they are married he has equal and joint parental responsibility for the child. So, make sure that her return tickets are within one month. If she stays longer than one month without your permission, this would be a case of a ‘wrongful retention’ under the Hague Convention, which allows you to take proceedings for their return.

The most effective preventative action that a parent suspecting abduction can take is legal action. A parent may apply for the following orders in the country where the child lives:

Yes, an Israeli court can ‘punish’ a parent who unjustifiably refuses to co-operate over a minor's passport by ordering costs against him/her. For example, in 2005 after hearing the evidence and viewpoints of the parties, Tel Aviv family court told a father that it had found no reasonable justification for him objecting to his teenage child being issued a new Israeli passport, and that if he withdrew his objection, and consented, no costs would be ordered against him. He refused to consent, so as well as ordering the Ministry of Interior to issue the child a passport, it ordered him to pay the mother's legal fees for bringing the action.
The various financial guarantees set by Israeli courts to deter child abduction and encourage the return of minors after visitation abroad – following permission for a custodial parent to relocate or go on a foreign holiday with a child, or where the non-custodial parent lives outside of Israel – relate to the risk involved. Where there has been a history of child abduction, the guarantees set are generally much higher than where there has been a history of respect for court decisions on custody and visitation. Guarantees usually vary from anything from around $US 10,000 to up to even $200,000 per child.

In 2003 an American mother who had immigrated to Israel with her ex-husband's written consent, feared he would not return them to Israel at the end of their planned visitation in the States, following him filing for custody in his home state. The mother, who was represented by our legal practice, gained an ex-parte prevention of exit order, from Haifa Family Court, which could only be lifted upon the father putting up a $60,000 guarantee. (The final decision is due soon).
An order preventing a minor's exit is a stronger safeguard – the mechanism of the remaining parent's authorization provided for may be too weak or open to abuse by a manipulative parent. For example, if prior written agreement is required an ‘abducting parent’ could forge this. The mechanism may not require written agreement, but just say agreement in which case the ‘abducting parent’ could claim he/she had oral consent, and leave with the minor.
The whole point of a temporary order granted by the court is that it can be registered at all ports ,with the Israeli border police, according to the I.D. and passport details given for the minor, and thus minimize the risk of the minor leaving the country . There is always the risk of the minor leaving on a false passport, or an additional foreign one, the details of which are unknown to the remaining parent, or being smuggled across a land border. Barring this, however, a 'stop order' registered at the points of exit from Israel should prevent the minor from being able to leave.
Several options exist when a child is missing, but believed to still be in the country. A parent can report the child as missing to the police, and express concern about possible abduction. In Israel, cases of alleged abduction or kidnapping are treated as missing persons cases initially, but all borders are also checked and warned about a possible abduction. If checks show that the abductor and/or the child has left Israel, Interpol (the International Criminal Police Organisation) will be notified.

The police in Israel will obtain helpful supporting information and assistance in tracing missing children from government departments and non-governmental agencies, such as schools, nurseries, health institutions and social workers.
Yes! While, generally, the court will concentrate on the relocating parent providing financial guarantees, it may also ask the other parent to guarantee the return of the child/ren after the end of visitation. For example, in September 2005 Tel Aviv Family Court, in a case relating to the relocation of children to London, the relocating parent, the mother, was required to provide $60,000 to guarantee the father's visitation rights. The remaining parent, the father, was required to provide a bank guarantee of 100,000 NIS every time the children visited Israel, to guarantee their return to London.
No. Whatever legal steps are taken there is no 100% guarantee that a child cannot be abducted using another name and a false passport to cross passport control, or smuggled across a border somehow.
Almost immediately after it has been given, in principle. The lawyer representing the parent who won the order can check with the border police to see if it has been registered.
Whatever legal steps are taken there is no 100% guarantee that abduction can be prevented in practice.
His/her Israeli identity card, which should cross-reference with any Israeli passport the child may have. If it all possible, also details of any foreign passport including the number. The child's name in English, as spelt in his/her passport is important, too, as is gender, place and date of birth.