HOUSTON, TX - April 26, 2012. A federal court in Houston this week held its first hearing on a $20 million lawsuit alleging systematic torture upon divorced fathers in the Israeli judicial and welfare systems. This is one of four lawsuits which Israeli fathers have filed in the United States and Europe. Legal consultants are also helping the Israeli fathers prepare to file lawsuits in Canada. David Weisskopf, the plaintiff in the Houston case, describes the Israeli environment as an ‘open season’ on divorced fathers.
“Men are literally dying,” says Weisskopf. He points out how 45 froze to death on the “tropical” streets in Israel last winter and that the suicide rate among divorced fathers is more than 250 times higher than the overall Israeli population. “These statistics are by far the world’s worst and are thanks to all the lobbying, training and ongoing consultation from the defendants.”
In an unprecedented move, the Houston court is allowing Weisskopf to add parties to his lawsuit regardless of their citizenship. This opens the door for Israeli fathers to join the American lawsuit as well as immigrant fathers who have endured torture in the Israeli judiciary or welfare system. The diversity of plaintiffs will show how widespread and systematic the torture has become in the Israeli judicial and welfare systems.
Nearly two dozen Israeli bureaucrats and their donors have been named as defendants between the four lawsuits – including Israel’s minister of welfare, minister of justice and even a Supreme Court judge. However, the plaintiffs may have a right to add more defendants which then implicates more Israeli bureaucrats and their American donors.
Though all the current defendants have been summoned in the American lawsuits, some of them have not yet filed their appearances. Israeli defendants who fail to appear in American courts may have default judgments entered against them. Plaintiffs may then petition Israeli courts to enforce default foreign judgments.
Legal consultants assisting these fathers in Israel plan to use the same tactics against these Israeli bureaucrats to enforce judgments which the Israeli bureaucrats commonly use to harass divorced fathers in Israel - who cannot declare bankruptcy when these bureaucrats drive them into destitution. These tactics include, stop-orders from leaving the country, revoking driver’s licenses, freezing assets including bank accounts, arrests at 2am and imprisonment in debtor’s prison, garnishing all wages except $375 per month, calling in employers to testify in court, and seeking similar court orders against family members.
Two of the bureaucrats involved in the lawsuits forced Weisskopf to endure an interrogation at their office within hours of his emergency surgery. The interrogation lasted an hour though he was suffering from a fractured sinus and bone cyst at the time. Weisskopf recorded the meeting audibly, superimposed visual animation and posted a three-part satire on YouTube:
To date the three-part satire has received over 100,000 views ranking them 40th place as the most-viewed Israeli videos on YouTube. Weisskopf’s inbox has been flooded with messages from police and social workers worldwide denouncing the brutal treatment he endured at the hands of Israeli bureaucrats. Meanwhile Israeli authorities have stonewalled efforts to investigate wrong-doing by their bureaucrats.
The international contact for these lawsuits is the Coalition for Children and the Family in Israel (www.ccfisrael.org). Jury trial on the first lawsuit has been set for May-June 2013.