MK Aliza Lavie
MK Aliza LavieFlash 90

Men suffering from Israel's harsh divorce laws – and women who support those laws – crashed a town hall meeting Monday with three female MKs, and demanded their rights.

The meeting, held at Elkana, in Samaria, was attended by MKs Gila Gamliel (Likud), Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home) and Aliza Lavie (Yesh Atid). Most of the protesters' rage was directed at Lavie, who heads the Knesset's Committee for Advancement of Status of Women and Gender Equality.

When Lavie began speaking, papers were thrown at her from the audience. She left the meeting after delivering a short statement.

The fathers – some of whom do not see their children at all, suffer from false criminal complaints filed against them by their ex-wives, and from jail sentences over child support debts they failed to pay – see Lavie as a hostile figure, and their strong feelings were apparent.

MK Gamliel explained that she supports the abolition of the so called Tender Years Clause, which originally related to small children but now gives mothers automatic custody of children of all ages in divorce. She called the law “archaic.”

MK Shaked said that she recently heard of the injustices suffered by divorced fathers. “The truth is that I was shocked,” she said. “I had not been familiar with this phenomenon before.” 

She added that she has also learned about a directive issued by former State Attorneys Edna Arbel and Dorit Beinish – called Directive 2.5 – which instructs the prosecution and police, de facto, not to prosecute women who file false complaints against men.

She promised to meet the divorced men on March 3 and to advance their rights in the next Knesset.