What can I do to get my child back to Israel from Russia, where my wife was born and raised, and took our child recently, without my knowledge, and refuses to return him? We have spent all our married life in Israel, our child was born here, our jobs are here, and we have an apartment here, with a mortgage.

Act on two fronts simultaneously- both of which are possible since Russia became a signatory to an international convention on child abduction, and Israel confirmed it accession, so that since March 2012, abductions between Israel and Russia are covered by the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of Child Abduction and a specific legal mechanism exists which covers your situation.

 

Firstly, you should contact the Convention's Central Authority in Israel, requesting it to act via its equivalent body in Russia, to get a court order for the prompt return of your child, to Israel, and secondly, you should act directly at the Israeli family court to obtain a declaration under Article 15 of the Convention, to state that Israel is the child's place of habitual residence, and the centre of his life. You are advised to initiate this, and not wait waste time waiting until the Russian court requests this.

 

In September 2016 Petach Tikva Family Court granted such a declaration, at the request of a father, for use in the legal proceedings in Russia. The three children had been abducted to Russia by their mother during the Summer holidays in 2016 - while the father  thought they were spending the break with their maternal grandmother in Israel.

Hague Convention Countries

The “Hague” countries that are bound by the Convention in relation to abductions to and from Israel are:

Andorra | Argentina | Australia | Austria | The Bahamas | Belarus | Belgium | Belize | Bosnia and Herzegovina | Brazil | Burkina Faso | Canada | Cayman Islands | Chile | China | (Hong Kong & Macau) | Colombia | Croatia | Cyprus | Czech Republic | Denmark | Ecuador | Estonia | Falkland Islands | Fiji | Finland | France | Gabon | Georgia | Germany | Greece | Honduras | Hungary | Iceland | Ireland | Israel | Italy | Japan | Latvia | Lithuania | Luxembourg | Macedonia | Malta | Mauritius | Mexico | Monaco | Moldova | Morocco | Netherlands | New Zealand | Nicaragua | Norway | Panama | Paraguay | Peru | Poland | Portugal | Romania | Russia | St Kitts and Nevis | Serbia and Montenegro  | Singapore | Slovakia | Slovenia | South Africa | Spain | Sweden | Switzerland | Turkey | Turkmenistan | United Kingdom | United States of America | Ukraine | Uruguay | Uzbekistan | Venezuela | Zimbabwe

New countries may join the Convention in the future so that it applies to abductions between them and Israel, if Israel accepts their accession.