The courts in Vienna ordered three Israeli children who were kidnapped by their father six months ago to be returned to Israel.
The court ruled that the Hague Convention against kidnapping children overrules the father's claims against returning them to Israel "because of the security situation in Israel and the rockets from Gaza."
According to the court, the security situation isn't dangerous in the whole of Israel, and in Kfar Sabar, where the mother lives, there have been no rocket hits.
The mother's lawyers argued that "Kfar Saba is 15 km. north of Tel Aviv and has been defined as a city with the highest quality of life in Israel."
The kidnapping happened on December 25. The father told the mother that he was taking the three children, aged 12, nine and seven, who lived with her, to relatives outside the city. However, he actually took them to Ben-Gurion Airport where he told them they were going abroad. The next day, the mother discovered that the father had left the country with the children and had flown to Prague where his parents live. She later discovered that from there, he took them to Vienna.
The woman filed a complaint with Kfar Saba Police and at the same time flew to Vienna where she began legal proceedings against the father. During all this, there was an attempt to bridge between the parents by rabbis who ruled that the children had to be returned to their mother until the court's ruling.
Mother returns with daughters, son's location unknown
The court ordered that the children's passports be returned to the mother, and she returned to Israel with her two daughters. However, in the meantime, the location of the father and the son is unknown, and there is a concern that they will try to leave Austria.
"It's credible that [the boy] said again and again that he wants to stay in Austria," said the court in the ruling. "As opposed to his younger sisters, he speaks German and has been attending school since January 2023, which he loves."
The boy repeatedly told the judge and the welfare services in Austria that he was scared of rockets in Israel and that he feels safe in Vienna, however, the court didn't agree.
"There are sirens, but you can go to shelters," it said. "It's easy to understand that the children were scared of the only siren they actually experienced, but this is day-to-day life in Israel in the parents' place of residence."
The court also added that terror attacks happen all around the world.
"The current situation in Israel is difficult, but there isn't a travel warning and planes continue to land in Tel Aviv. It's known that rocket attacks happen repeatedly, but the vast majority of them are intercepted."
The court found that the father's claims were well-founded but not enough so to prevent the children from returning to Israel.