Aussie man banned from leaving Israel until year 9999
An Australian father says he's forbidden from leaving Israel for any reason until December 31, 9999 unless he pays his Israeli ex-wife $2.4 million in future child support under a local divorce law.
Huppert told News.com.au that he's been effectively “locked” in Israel since 2013, a year after he arrived in the Jewish state to reconnect with the two children he had with his former wife – an Israeli citizen. The kids were three months and five years old at the time.
Shortly after Huppert moved to Israel, the woman brought a case against him at a local religious court, which oversees issues such as marriage, divorce, child custody and child support payments. Ruling on the basis of Israeli divorce law, the court banned the Australian from leaving the country until he pays out a “future debt” in alimony payments for the entire duration of his two kids’ childhood.
Under the so-called “stay-of-exit order,” the man was ordered to pay 5,000 Israeli shekels (around $1,600) per month in child support for each of his children until they turn 18.
Huppert has accused the government of punishing foreigners who marry Israeli citizens. Australian men have been “persecuted by the Israeli ‘justice’ system only because they were married to Israeli women,” he insisted.
The 44-year-old analytical chemist said that he decided to talk to the press “to help other Australians who may suffer this literally life-threatening experience.”
There could be “hundreds” of Australian citizens among the foreigners affected by similar ‘stay-of-exit’ orders, said Marianne Azizi, an independent UK journalist whose own husband got into the same trouble in Israel. The exact number is “almost impossible to ascertain” as the subject is taboo in the country, she told News.com.au.
“The system is set up against fathers,” filmmaker Sorin Luca, who directed the ‘No Exit Order’ documentary in 2019, pointed out. “This is a reason why many fathers don't get divorced. They are simply too afraid.”
“Once a father has the [stay-of-exit] order, he can be imprisoned for up to 21 days, whether he has the ability to pay or not – without any investigation of his finances,” Luca added.
Some governments go as far as to warn their citizens of Israel’s intricate divorce laws in advance. For instance, the US State Department informs Americans going abroad that Israeli courts do not hesitate “to bar certain individuals, including nonresidents, from leaving the country until debts or other legal claims against them are resolved.”
However, the Australian government apparently does not warn its citizens of possible repercussions from marrying, having children with and then divorcing an Israeli citizen.