Keep your kids away from Israel – it’s dangerous for Jewish children, says American Jewish father

Tzion - Jewish father suffering injustice in Israel
Marianne Azizi writes:

“Dad, they are hurting me, beating me, help me.”

The screams for help are then muffled from behind the barred windows of the institution.

Tzion’s 14-year-old US-born daughter has tried to escape many times. She is now locked up in a mental hospital in Israel, and her father cannot come within 5km of her.

“Dad, I can hear the social workers plotting. They are making up stories about you. It’s dangerous for you in Israel,” whispers Tzion’s 13-year-old son to his father. He is separated from his sister, locked up in an institution over one and a half hours away from her.

What did Tzion do? He immigrated to Israel in August 2014, having raised his children as a single dad in the USA, successfully and without the authorities ever intervening in his parenting. The mother had relinquished her children to him nearly seven years earlier, having gone down the route of drugs, and had moved to Las Vegas to live with her new boyfriend.

In this video, Tzion described his plight and warns people: Don’t come to Israel unless you are fully informed of the dangers and risks.

Tzion had been loyal to Israel and had worked at the highest levels, handing confidential matters. He thought it would be beneficial for his children to get to know Israeli culture and the Hebrew language.

But then Tzion rejected the sexual advances of an old friend. She retaliated by making a false complaint against him to the welfare authorities anonymously, though her identity was later revealed, as was the fact that this was not the first time she had made similar complaints against other people.

Child prisons

In May 2015 Tzion’s children were taken from their school by Israeli police and social workers who never even checked with their father or asked any questions about his life or his income. They were just seized.

The institutions to which Tzion’s children were taken are child prisons. His daughter stopped eating. The social workers claimed she was anorexic and declared she had post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which they alleged had been caused by repressed memories of sexual abuse by her father. They then contacted his former wife and invited her to come and fetch the children! Some eight years after she had last seen or had contact with them, she flew to Israel and was granted daily access to the children who didn’t even know her. Meanwhile, the father was not allowed such visitations.

Tzion is in a surreal world. His comfortable life in the USA, where he and his children lived a good and healthy life, has turned into a nightmare. Testimonies sent from the USA in his support have been ruled inadmissible. His children’s school in the US fully supports him, but he cannot call witnesses in his defence.

What Tzion does know is that his ex wife was informed that his children were homeless, not attending school and hungry. The Israeli authorities claimed he was under investigation from the moment he arrived in Israel. Yet, at no time did they ever visit his home, and all accounts coming from the USA are different. Tzion has no way to defend himself.

Given the runaround

When I interviewed Tzion, he received a call at 2pm from the manager of the institution holding his son. Tzion recorded everything. He was told that his son was sick and that they were sending him to an emergency unit in Beer Sheva. Tzion asked if he could go with him but was told to just wait and that he would hear in time.

Sitting with me in the cafe in Jerusalem, Tzion was going into shock. At 2.45pm he was called again and told to wait, and that they would inform him about the condition of his son. He is still the official guardian of his children – but you wouldn’t have thought so by the way he was being treated. At 4.10pm he was called yet again, and told that he would receive another call from the emergency unit to clear up any questions regarding medication for his son.

Tzion stressed again that his boy was epileptic and that he would need to talk to a doctor. Minutes later, the emergency unit called, just a courtesy they said. He was told that his son had only just arrived at the hospital. When he informed them about his son’s medical condition, he was brushed off with: “We know, we know, don’t worry.” Tzion asked if he could go to the hospital but was told that his son would be leaving within a few minutes, even though he had just arrived. Minutes later the manager called again to check if Tzion had spoken with the hospital. Tzion asked if his son was OK, and whether he could see him. He was told not to worry, and that it wasn’t a good day for visiting, it being a Friday, the day before the Sabbath. He asked if he could speak to him on the phone but was refused.

Tzion recorded all the calls, but no one cares. I heard for myself the multitude of lies he was told. Any parent would feel disempowered in such a situation, to not be able to speak to or comfort one’s child.

The previous week Tzion had been admonished for calling his son on his appointed day – the authorities claimed he was stalking his son! The boy was refused his bar mitzvah,1 the most important day in his young life.

A warning come true

Tzion knows the game. He has learned over the past 18 months how it works. If he fights, he loses, and if he doesn’t, he loses.

Most of all, his children lose. They have no rights, which contravenes the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Tzion had worked at the highest levels in Israel, but he refused to do certain tasks. They told him that his refusal would come at a price. He believes he is now paying that price.

All he can do now is warn others: don’t come to Israel unless you are fully informed of the dangers and risks.

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