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Israeli Family Judge recuses herself After Fathers Rights Vigil Protest
A demonstration against one of Israel’s most controversial family court judges, Esther Stein, on July 31, 2012 resulted in the Judge’s recusal from the case of a leading activist father.
It was a sizzling afternoon in Petach Tikva, a quite middle class town east of Tel Aviv. At 17:30 fathers rights activists started showing up for a protest vigil against a Judge accused of bias in favor of women and consistently cutting off children from fathers. The street was quickly covered with fathers’ rights banners and flags. The police came and gave a green light to the vigil, and then the megaphones started shouting: “Judge Stein, how would you feel if you never saw your children? Why are you doing this to us”? Young children from the neighborhood started flocking to the activity and asked to use the megaphone. They called the Judge to let the fathers unite with their children. The Judge looked through her window and sat down to draft an ex parte decision recusing herself from a very prominent case. Drivers-
Neighbors asked the protestors to come every week, “to make sure the Judge understands that Petach Tikva does not tolerate abuse of fathers and children”. One of Stein’s neighbors, a grandmother said: “My daughter divorced and I told her I would disown her if she doesn’t let my grandchildren see their father anytime he wants to. This judge is despicable”. Two hours later, the judge’s husband arrived and spat towards the protestors.
The next day, Judge Ether Stein made public her the order of recusal. In her decision, written from home during the protest, she complains that was is very offensive to her. In her unusual order, the Judge wrote that despite a police complaint that the woman launched against the father, “the Court did its best to preserve the contact between the father and his daughter”. She further stated that she handled the visitations “intensively and diligently to preserve the father-daughter contact in the most professional way”, and that she was “most sensitive” to the father. However, the evidence in this case, and on the internet, shows otherwise. This judge has told thousands of fathers, straight to their faces that she does not think any father be free to see his children without supervision, that all men walk away from the children after they meet new women, and that the best solution for the fathers claim for child access is one hour a week in a secured facility known as “contact center”. In conclusion the Judge claimed that she cannot continue to handle a case where the parent does not respect her as a human being”.
This last sentence caused uproar among the fathers’ rights activists, since they claim that the judge, for years, treated fathers “worse than dogs”, and told many men, “sell your kidney, I wouldn’t blink an eye” or “the children don’t need you”, “one hour a week is more than enough for you” or “make new children, forget these children”. The fathers say that “ironically, the judge who tormented and tortured thousands of fathers is suddenly asking for “respect”. The guards in the concentration camps also asked for respect. They even played classical music to make the massacres more humane”.
But the story does not end here. The judge made 40 phone calls to the police, some of them impersonating to be a neighbor, and demanded from the police to end the vigil. On the next day, the judge went directly to the police and filed charges of harassment and violation of gag orders that she herself issued. This resulted in police interrogation for four hours, and raids to seize computers from the home of the father, in the same case that the judge recused herself from. This is not the first time family court judges file police charges against the fathers whose life they tormented. The Coalition for Children and family (Israel) says that “gag orders in family courts are a cynical trick to silence the abused fathers. It serves no purpose at all. Overseas family courts are open and in the U.S. the judgments state the names of the parties. In Israel, women file criminal case against the husbands, because feminist clinics tell them to fabricate something. The criminal judgments also state the name, and there you can read the whole family story anyway. It is time to open up the family courts of Israel for public attendance and review”.