With a crisis worldwide regarding Child Protection Services, Israel is no exception. A small country – the size of New Jersey, little is known about the social issues inside the country.
The No Exit Order in Israel is almost unheard of in the West, nor used by any countries in the manner it is exercised in Israel. There are a number of ways it can be issued. One is through the bailiff office, for debts as little as $100, which soon amount with interest to thousands of dollars. Through this office, driving licences, bank accounts and the right to self employment is also revoked. Imprisonment for debtors is common, leaving citizens with few options to rectify any debts. Taxi drivers, bus drivers also have licence revocation in effect destroying their careers and family income.
In most continental systems, the method of slavery for debt has been abolished. Over the years, despite many discussions in the Knesset; Ministers rejected abolishing prison for debt.
A second way to put a No Exit Order, is in matters of divorce. In order to be certain of ongoing child support payments, a woman can easily put a travel ban on the father, with a demand for child support which can extend to the entire duration of the childhood. Once a father has the 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. Men are expected to pay 100% or even more of their income to pay for their children. Israel expects men to pay in full for a wife’s lifestyle, and in the rare cases a man may get custody of the children, he is still expected to pay the child support to the absent mother.
The laws regarding child support and custody are quite unique in the world. Children aged 6 and under are automatically given to the mother, irrespective of her fitness as a parent. Israel is one of the only remaining countries in the world to operate this by law. Child support is not based on the joint finances of a couple, nor on the ability of the father to pay. A general guideline is that the father will pay $600 per child per month, irrespective of his income. If unable, he will face prison for up to 21 days each time. Poverty and suicide in divorced men is unusually high, with the UN showing concern for the laws being unequal.
By Karin Carmit Yefet
Faculty of Law ,University of Haifa