This story stirred up the whole Israel: a Moslem father kidnapped a son from his Jewish wife and refused to hand him back. Finally, the boy was returned to his mother, thanks to the help from Yediot Achronot, Interpol, many lawyers, the Michael Cherney Foundation, Russia’s Chief Rabbi, and various Jewish social agencies. According to Yediot Achronot, the boy’s return was a thriller: he was taken without his father’s knowledge and hidden in a secure place.
This is how the story evolved: before the wedding, the woman did not know that the groom was a Moslem. She learned it only two years after the marriage. She obtained a divorce, and six years ago, a she came to Israel with her son, and soon they became citizens.
Last August the woman’s mother took the boy to Moldavia to visit relatives. And this is when the kidnapping took place. According to the relatives, the father simply said he would take the boy out for a walk – and then disappeared. All the boy’s papers were left behind.
No one knows how the man managed to smuggle his son to Russia through two state borders. The family suspects that he used forged papers he had obtained in advance.
After some time, the father called to say that the boy was fine, but if the family went to police, they would never see him again.
After two more weeks, without another call from him, the family decided to act.
Mother sought help from Israeli authorities. According to her, her ex-husband is a practicing Moslem who forces Islam on their son – prayer five times a day, visits to the mosque, the study of Koran. She claimed that, though he lives in Russia, he has Syrian citizenship and threatens to take the boy there.
Yet in Israel, the Internal Ministry sent her to police; the police sent her back to the Internal Ministry, who in turn sent her to the Ministry of Justice. After a month, with no help from the authorities, she headed for Moscow to look for her ex on her own.
Her first stop was at the Israeli Consulate, where she was told they could not help her. Then after making calls of old friends, she learned he was living in the south of Russia with a new family and children. She even got a hold of an address, and soon was on her way.
However, she did not dare go there directly; instead, she went to the police. The Russian police supplied her with the address of a boarding school where the child had been placed; but the school administrators refused to let her see her son outright, claiming they did not know who she was.
Once again, she went in a vicious circle: police – Interpol – Israeli agencies. (Interpol refused to take her request without a confirmation from the State of Israel that the child was indeed being sought.)
Finally, she turned for help to the Yediot Achronot newspaper, whose intercession had been effective in other past cases.
After her case was publicized on the Ynet site, Israeli lawyers and Knesset deputies joined the fight. It turned out that solving these problems with Russia was not easy, since it never joined the Hague Convention on Returning Kidnapped Children. Yet now there is no doubt that in similar cases Israeli authorities would be undertaking more concerted efforts to return children to Israel.
At least this story has a happy ending. Mother and son are reunited in Israel.