Spanish man leaves Israel after being held for 399 days against his will
Marianne Azizi writes:
We discovered Nelson in Israel in despair, walking the streets.
His family and friends in Argentina and Spain had become increasingly concerned.
Nelson is not Jewish. He had been persuaded by his former wife – an Israeli – to go to Israel to attend his children’s birthday. As with many men before him, he had no idea of the risk he was taking by visiting Israel as a divorced man.
Nelson’s former wife made extortionate claims that he owed her child support, which he did not.
This is a regular occurrence in Israel. False claims require no verification or proof: just the word of another. With a bag packed for a three-day visit, Nelson had no idea of the situation he would find himself in.
Apart from his ex-wife and his children, Nelson had no connection to anyone in Israel, but discovered he could not leave or even get to see his children.
In the video below ( also available here), Nelson appeals for help.
Nelson’s wife and child in Spain never gave up on him. They tried to raise funds for him so he can leave Israel, and continued to campaign both in Spain and in Nelson’s country of origin, Argentina.
Time passed with little hope. Nelson could not speak or read Hebrew, and didn’t understand what was happening in the courts. He found a lawyer, who managed to free him from a prison sentence. He had been dragged from the court by police straight into prison. He has never committed a crime.
At the end of February, Nelson was finally able to leave Israel, thanks to the tireless work of lawyers.
Nelson Ansia is finally free. This is the heartfelt message he sent to his friends on the day of his departure:
After 399 days deprived of my freedom and kept from my family – five lawyers, two courts, three judges, three trials, five hearings, six cities, 18 places – I was given to sleep and a bunch of details that I can hardly describe.
Was this the hardest experience of my life? Of course, and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. But now it is in the past and I just want to start again.
I can’t even say “continue” with my life, because I will never be the same again. The Nelson I was died some time ago. But today the only thing I have left from this is all the people who did everything possible not to abandon me, so I never felt alone in this surreal drama. Each person did what they could – offering a plate of food or a word of encouragement. I will never forget the kindness of the people who helped me.
Many Israeli men and foreign nationals have suffered like Nelson. The law in Israel requires a divorced man to be 100 per cent responsible for child support – the woman pays nothing, irrespective of the earnings of either spouse.
As a non Jew, Nelson was not required to pay the same amount as a Jewish father – another act of discrimination in Israel. But No Exit Orders have no such discrimination. Anyone can be held against their will in Israel (man or woman), merely on the word of another in a claim of non-payment, whether true or false.
The Coalition for Children and Families (CCF Israel) has been attempting to help foreign nationals who are trapped in Israel. Good news for three men: one British-Israeli, one American and now Nelson.
Yaniv Moyal, a lawyer, revisited the files against Nelson and couldn’t find any of the debt he was alleged to have.
From January until his departure, Nelson was on the run from the police who had been ordered to arrest him and imprison him again. The court decided he could leave the country, and within days he was flying home to his family, fleeing from an illegal order for his arrest.
Be warned! Visiting Israel while you have domestic issues can result in a prolonged stay against your will. It is written on the US State Department travel page for Israel, though few people read it until it is too late.
Nelson wants to issue this warning: Do not go to Israel. Find a way to deal with your affairs from a distance.
Here is a statement from lawyer Joseph Weizman:
We’ve been through every obstacle possible! Nelson came to to our office crying and destitute. He had come from Spain at the request of his ex-wife to celebrate a birthday with the kids, and she put a No Exit Order against him without his knowledge.
Nelson is remarried, is not a Jew and doesn’t have relatives in Israel. He lives and works in Spain, and he pays his child support.
We filed a motion to dismiss a delay exit, but the court rejected the request… He was imprisoned. During the case, when the police took him, the judge asked his ex-wife what would she gain if he was in jail. Her response was that she didn’t care about the money, she just wanted to see him incarcerated!
We filed an appeal to the family court which was accepted and Nelson was released.
Nelson will continue to pay the child support in full from Spain, but won’t be blackmailed daily, not in Israel.
The office team came up on a late night to send Nelson on his way to his wife and he couldn’t stop crying and thanking us. Most of this case was voluntary work, and we are proud. Godspeed dear Nelson!
The system which is making women victims is allowing them to make false claims, and currently a committee has been set up internally to lobby and fight for reform, headed up by a leading attorney.
Meanwhile, the second episode of an expose on judicial corruption was aired this week in Israel in Hebrew, with the investigative reporter saying she feared for her life after making connections between the mafia and the government. A leading lawyer spoke on the programme, saying that anyone can go to prison in Israel just on the word of another
Nelson is back in Spain with his wife and child. While hoping to move on with his life, he wants to reiterate his warning to people of all nationalities: Don’t, don’t go to Israel to visit your children if you are divorced. You may never return.