After almost two months of searching for his 3-year-old son, who had disappeared to a location unknown to him with his ex-wife, divorced father Ariel has discovered that his son is staying with his mother in a shelter for battered women.
Up until the time that his ex-wife disappeared with his son, Ariel enjoyed legal status as joint custodian of the child; the child stayed with him half the time, according to the agreed-upon arrangement of the court.
In the past, the mother had filed several complaints against Ariel for alleged violence against her, but all these cases had been closed. Two of the complaints had even been closed on grounds of "lack of guilt," a rare outcome in these sorts of cases (which police generally prefer to close on grounds of "lack of proof" or "lack of interest to the public" so as to prevent the possibility of future suits for false arrest).
Once he knew where the child was located, Ariel turned to court to request that his son be taken out of the shelter. The judge quickly answered the request, and instructed that the mother's reply be received. Ariel then went to the shelter accompanied by police (shown in the video below), in order to give the mother the court's decision.
According to Ariel, his ex-wife refused to receive the documents, and police verified this.
Since his son disappeared, Ariel has filed a number of suits against the different factors involved in the episode, including the Department of Justice and Israeli police (who, until the current time, did not address his previous calls for help seriously), the shelter housing the mother and son, the mother's employer and sources that donate money to the shelter.
While the shelters do, undoubtedly, afford protection for women escaping from violence and abuse, often only with the clothes on their backs, there is another aspect to the problem. According to journalist Marianne Azizi, who has accompanied Ariel through his ordeal and filmed the clip above, "many women take advantage of the apparent slack screening in battered women shelters. The financial advantage for such women, and also the center, lends itself to the question of incompetence or corruption," she said.
Arutz Sheva was unable to reach the mother of the child for her response.