UN Calls on Israel to Cancel 'Tender Years' Clause
The United Nations' Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights has determined that Israel discriminates against divorced fathers and has called upon Israel to cancel the Tender Years Clause that grants automatic custody over children in divorce cases to their mothers. Israel is said to be the last country in the world not to have canceled the clause.
In the concluding remarks of meetings held in Geneva in November and December, the committee wrote that:
"The Committee recommends that the State party amend the Capacity and Guardianship Law so that custody of children up to the age of six is not always given to mothers, and ensure that child support awards do not lead to an inadequate standard of living for the father."
The committee heard testimony from representatives of the Coalition for Children and Families, an Israeli group that fights for the rights of children and their fathers in divorce. Following the testimony, the experts posed questions to a 12-person Israeli delegation. A source on the committee said that the experts noted that there was a high suicide rate among divorced men in Israel, amounting to half of all suicides.
They also said that this was reportedly because family rights for divorced couples were very biased towards mothers and restricted access of men to children and the family home to a degree rarely seen in any other State, and that the situation for divorced fathers was "apparently hellish."
CCF was founded by Daniel Zer, a father who has not been able to see his own six-year-old son for three years running, allegedly because the child's mother does not want him to see him, and the social workers agree with her that the child has no need for a father in his life.