Ab­ducted boy goes to gen­tiledad

The Jewish Chronicle - - WORLD NEWS - BY RUTH EGLASH

IS­RAEL’S SUPREME Court has ruled that an eight-year-old boy be­ing raised here by his mother as an Ortho­dox Jew must be re­turned to his es­tranged non-Jewish fa­ther, un­der the terms of the Hague Con­ven­tion on In­ter­na­tional Child Ab­duc­tion.

French-born Ronite Bi­ton, who has been fight­ing for cus­tody of her son for the past six years, was or­dered to re­turn the boy to Bel­gium, where a lo­cal court will de­ter­mine whether she or her ex­hus­band, Vin­cent Ge­oris, will raise him.

Fol­low­ing the hear­ing, Ms Bi­ton said that she had held out hope of a pos­i­tive rul­ing from Is­rael’s high­est court un­til the end.

“I don’t know what I will do yet,” she said through her tears. “Ei­ther I stay here and never see him again, or go back and go to jail.”

Ms Bi­ton is con­cerned that if she re­turns to Bel­gium she will be brought up on crim­i­nal charges for leav­ing the coun­try il­le­gally with her son two years ago.

Mr Ge­oris, how­ever, urged his exwife to come with their son to Bel­gium in or­der to ease the tran­si­tion into his new life. He also said that he had no prob­lem al­low­ing his son to con­tinue his Jewish prac­tices.

The three Supreme Court judges — Ayala Pro­cac­cia, Edna Ar­bel and Salim Jubran — ruled that while send­ing the boy back to his fa­ther would most cer­tainly be a com­plete change in lifestyle and could be dam­ag­ing emo­tion­ally, if he stayed in Is­rael all con­nec­tion with his fa­ther would def­i­nitely be cut. He is sched­uled to leave Is­rael on June 1.

The de­ci­sion fol­lows at least 18 months of de­lib­er­a­tions and three rounds of court hear­ings that fo­cused on var­i­ous ar­gu­ments such as how the change in re­li­gion and cul­ture would af­fect the child’s psy­che. The is­sue was also raised whether the mother had “kid­napped” her child ac­cord­ing to the Hague Con­ven­tion and caused a de­gree of parental alien­ation from the fa­ther. In their fi­nal rul­ing, the Supreme Court judges agreed to up­hold the terms of the in­ter­na­tional con­ven­tion, which has been signed by 77 coun­tries in­clud­ing Is­rael.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.