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Radio Host: Custody Issue a ‘National Scourge’

Divorced father terms separation from child a ‘personal Holocaust,’ earns emotional response from radio host Jackie Levy.
By Gil Ronen and Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 4/9/2013, 5:48 PM

Father and child (illustrative)
Father and child (illustrative)
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Journalist and radio personality Jackie Levy expressed upset Sunday over the problems facing divorced fathers in Israel. The issue of fathers losing contact with their children has become a national “scourge,” he warned.

Levy’s emotional discussion of the issue followed a letter from a listener. The listener, who gave only his first name, Yair, said he had been cut off completely from his child.

Yair told Levy and his Army Radio (Galei Tzahal) cohost Avri Gilad, “Many parents – mostly men – will ‘celebrate’ the personal Holocaust the Welfare Ministry has made for them, not to see their children. Like me, someone who has not seen his daughter for 428 days and nights.”

“Someone has to stop this holocaust, with pardon for my use of the term,” he concluded.

Levy responded, “Divorced fathers are not some tiny minority, we all know plenty of them. We need to understand that this is becoming a nationwide scourge.”

“In recent days I have been trying to connect with some Members of Knesset, some of them friends of mine, and some tell me straight out that MKs who want to keep their seats do not want to get involved in legislature or regulations that could be perceived as ‘anti-women,’” he continued.

“As if saving divorced men pain is ‘anti-woman.’ As if boys and girls are in a state of war in our world, like in fifth grade,” Levy said. “This primitive thinking needs to go jump in a lake.”

Levy said the current system has “fundamental flaws,” adding, “I don’t want to talk about it because I don’t want to cry on air.”

Levy has been invited to speak at a conference organized by MK Moshe Feiglin (Likud) on the subject of strengthening families and communities.

Currently Israel's Tender Years clause means that in nearly all divorce cases mothers are given custody of small children. A United Nations committee has expressed concern over the clause and over high child support payments.