Portuguese / Spanish / English

Australian man banned from leaving Israel for 8,000 years until he pays off 'future debt' of $2.4m in child support

Noam Huppert, 44, is not allowed to leave Israel for 8,000 years until he pays off future debt of over $2.4m in child support to his ex-wife [@mahluklarcomtr/Twitter]
Noam Huppert, 44, is not allowed to leave Israel for 8,000 years until he pays off future debt of over $2.4m in child support to his ex-wife [@mahluklarcomtr/Twitter]

An Australian man living in Israel was banned from leaving the country for 8,000 years unless he pays a 'future debt' of over $2.4m in child support, the Guardian reported.

Noam Huppert, 44, was told he must remain in Israel until 31 December 9999, by a family court, unless the outstanding debt is paid off. He is not allowed to leave for work purposes or holidays.

Huppert has been trapped in Israel since 2013, after moving to Israel to be closer to his children, after his former spouse, an Israeli national, moved there.

The ex-wife then took Huppert to family court, which issued a 'stay-of-exit' order, meaning he cannot leave until he works off a staggering six-figure 'future debt', equalling 5,000 shekels per month, per child ($1,607).

Huppert, who is an analytical chemist for a pharmaceutical company, has said he has been 'persecuted' by Israeli justice, and other Australian citizens have also been persecuted, simply for being married to Israeli women, and he was speaking out to warn others of Israel's harsh family laws.

READ: UK minister says BDS will be outlawed 

"Since 2013, I am stuck in Israel," he told Australia's news.com.au.

The family laws in Israel have been described as 'draconian' by Times of Israel blogger, Adam Herscu, who warned Israeli fathers were becoming an endangered species.

He wrote: "If you're planning on moving to Israel and starting a family there, you need to understand that the family laws are draconian and excessively discriminatory against men – that there are good chances that you will be treated as a criminal and relegated to the role of visitor (slash) ATM."

British journalist, Marianne Azizi, who has been campaigning on this issue, began collecting testimonies of men forced to stay in Israel, due to the harsh family laws, and estimated that 'hundreds' of Australian men could well be in the same situation.

In 2014, she interviewed a US citizen on his messy divorce, who alleged that his wife had 'planned' the whole thing. The pair had met in Israel and relocated to the US, but when their second son was born, she insisted on going to Israel to be near family, and then would not return to their home in Portland, Oregon.

Rick Myers, told Azizi that he was slapped with a "No Exit Order", and his ex-wife's lawyers demanded a $300,000 lump sum immediately, and even suggested that his parents sold their motor home in order to pay the debt.

He was ordered to pay $6,000 per month for both his sons until the age of 18, in full knowledge, he said, that he could not afford it on his income, and he was unable to support himself in Israel.

He said: "I had two hearings regarding the "No Exit Order" and the judge eventually ruled I had to pay a security deposit of USD 100,000 before they would allow me to leave. Not having the money and not being able to support myself in Israel, I found a way out illegally and now cannot go back until I am legally allowed freedom of travel in and out of that country."

"An Oregon Judge later ruled that Israel's treatment of me may have violated my constitutional rights."

READ: Israel officials intervene to have US academic removed

He continued: "I did get some help from the US government after I left, but it botched a welfare visit and two embassy officials were arrested. Needless to say, they decided they could no longer help me. They wouldn't do anything for me when I was trapped as they claimed they couldn't get involved in "domestic issues". I have since learned that government travel warnings indicate that, for US citizens travelling to Israel, they are at potential risk of being involuntarily held against their will. Obviously, those warnings absolve the US from helping its own people to be freed."

The US State Department warns on its website: In a section titled "court jurisdiction", it states that civil and religious courts in Israel "actively exercise their authority to bar certain individuals, including non-residents, from leaving the country until debts or other legal claims against them are resolved".

"Israel's religious courts exercise jurisdiction over all citizens and residents of Israel in cases of marriage, divorce, child custody and child support," it says.

The State Department says that the US Embassy "is unable to cancel the debt of a US citizen or guarantee their departure from Israel when they face a bar from leaving the country until debts are resolved".

Categories
Asia & AmericasAustraliaIsraelMiddle EastNewsOceaniaUS
Show Comments
Writing Palestine - Celebrating the tenth year of the Palestine Book Awards - Buy your copy of the book now
Show Comments