(photo credit: INIMAGE)
Three children of Israeli parents in Michigan have been living in a juvenile detention center for the past two weeks
What was their crime? They refused to have lunch with their father.
According to the report by Detroit's Fox 2 News, the situation began when Maya Tsimhoni and Omer Tsimhoni were at a routine court hearing to discuss supervised parenting time.
Things then took a very unexpected turn.
Judge Lisa Gorcyca of the Oakland County family court then became upset, according to the report, and ordered the children to apologize to their father, Omer Tsimhoni. She told them to have a "healthy relationship" with their father, ordering the children to go have some lunch" with him.
The children, aged 9, 10 and 14 from the Detroit suburb of Bloomfield Hills, refused. Gorcyca held them in contempt of the court and ordered them to live at the Children's Village, a county juvenile detention center for children from troubled and neglected backgrounds, until they are 18. For the two youngest children, that would mean almost a decade in the center.
This punishment came even after one of the children explained to the court "he is violent and I saw him hit my mom." Gorcyca responded by comparing them to the Charles Manson cult and claimed that their mother was brainwashing them.
Their mother, Maya Tsimhoni, has been distraught ever since the court order and said she is not able to eat or sleep.
"I felt like I was watching them be executed," Tsimhoni said in the report on Wednesday, noting that she is not allowed to visit her children at the detention center. "I cannot understand something like that can even happen in this country."
She said admittingly that the divorce has been a difficult one and even at times involved kidnapping allegations, but maintained that "no matter how bad the divorce gets, I think the court should not punish the kids for that."
Maya's representative, Lisa Stern, said that this case shocked her, even after 20 years practicing family law. "I know laws were violated and I know that the children were punished for crimes they did not commit."
Stern said many other options that could have been taken, even if the judge had felt the children were being endangered.
The children would be released immediately from the moment their father says that they learned their lesson. However, he quickly left for a two-week business trip in Israel the day after the court hearing.
Gorcyca has denied the mother's request for an emergency hearing. The case will be up for review in September unless action is taken before that time.