August 11: I didn't kidnap my child

My son, Michael Solal, wants to remain what he is: Jewish.

letters 88 NICE (photo credit: )
letters 88 NICE
(photo credit: )
I didn't kidnap my child, who wants to remain what he is: Jewish Sir, - As the mother of Michael Solal, the misleading comments by the father's lawyer, Edwin A. Freedman - presented as undisputed facts - cannot stay unanswered ("Raised Jewish in Israel, or Christian in Belgium?" August 5). But first, I ask: Why would anyone give up on everything, including an income of up to 5,000 euros a month, to live a life of incessant harassment via court proceedings, threatened with jail for years under abduction charges - if not to keep struggling for justice, for the sake of one's child? The excuse of "parental alienation" is used by those who cannot accept a reality that contradicts their selfish interests. Could it be insanity, then? No, or Mr. Freedman, would already have claimed it before the court, as his client tried to do, in vain, before Belgian judges. So what's left? A very powerful necessity and sincere intent to protect my child from danger, and protect his right to be who he is, has always been and wants to be - which includes being Jewish and raised as such. For the rest, I would remind Mr. Freedman: 1. You were a bit quick to decide that I abducted our child according to European and international law, when this point has been submitted to the Supreme Court and the opinion of the highest competent EU authority. 2. In a case of proven abduction, the Hague Convention does not require that Israel "return" the child to a country other than where he habitually resided prior to Israel, which was in France, for two full years and with full legality, as you admitted to the court. 3. I could not "take the child away from the father and turn his life around by 180°" since he has lived with me since birth, under my full custody, since the judicial ousting order on the father from the family home for violence in 2002. And it was quite surprising to hear the father claim, before Israeli courts, that I've never been a practicing Jew; while claiming for four years, before Belgian courts, that I practice to the extreme, being (so he said) from the "Sephardic Jewish religion, a branch tending to apply radically the precepts of the Jewish religion." 4. I could not deny any right of the child to communicate with his father; quite the opposite. In reality he never bothered to come to see his child in Israel until the court requested his presence two months after he started proceedings here; nor does he bother to call his son during the weekly hour set by the court. 5. The psychologist who "deemed there were warm relations between father and son" was, surprisingly, not a French speaker. But the father-son exchange, in his presence, was held exclusively in French - as he himself admitted while trying to justify to the court his positive evaluation of the relationship. In his contradictory report, he both cited a "proximity," and then described it as non-existent: The father did not kiss the child, and the child, for his part, refused any physical contact, keeping two chairs between them and whispering into the psychologist's ear, in beginner's Hebrew, "Don't make that he takes me to Belgium." 6. The psychologist unfortunately omitted any of our child's words about his father's violence, but fortunately admitted later, before the court, that he had suppressed them for no good reason. In spite of my exhaustion and sadness at what humanity at its worst can do, I nourish the same hope, and zero fear, of what is to come out of this too-long struggle for Michael, since he is the one who gives me the strength and encouragement to persevere in the face of the the Goliaths. The only thing I can be sure of is that his fate is up to the fairest and most omnipotent One above. RONITE BITTON Ofakim Let's have some stability Sir, - I agree with Caroline B. Glick's conclusion in "Sharansky's democracy lessons" (August 3): "The success of democracies is ensured only when people choose wisely and embrace their power and responsibility as citizens." I would add: It is also wise to choose continuity and stability. Every leader who wants to reach optimal results needs a considerable period to acquire profound knowledge of his tasks and of his assisting staff. There are numerous examples of successful democracies where stability reigns - for example, Switzerland. But what about here? We have had 31 governments in Israel in less than 60 years. Fifteen different ministers have been nominated to head the Transport Ministry since my aliya in the 1990s. No commercial or industrial enterprise could survive a change of management every few months. Is another change of government really recommended? ROGER GUTH Kfar Saba Controversial orders Sir, - The refusal of "Orthodox soldiers" to evacuate Hebron settlers was a serious challenge to IDF discipline. But consider: Can a soldier today hide behind the "I was only carrying out orders" defense? Would a "leftist" soldier's refusal to serve beyond the Green Line receive the same condemnation? Since various surveys show that most Israelis oppose additional "disengagements," perhaps these "Orthodox soldiers" are not simply obeying their yeshiva teachers but represent a good segment of the Israeli population. Perhaps we need a referendum before ordering the IDF to carry out orders that are hotly debated by Israeli society ("Protect our army," Editorial, August 8). MILTON H. POLIN Jerusalem Flight into conjecture Sir, - I am saddened when I come across someone so biased he loses all sense of reason: for example, Larry Derfner's "The breeding of Israeli louts" (August 9). Discussing the problem of Israel's boors and making his case nicely, he extrapolated into the realm of conjecture, claiming that these same young boors, when in the army, would "make the lives of innocent Palestinians miserable at checkpoints." Derfner should know that by the time all recruits have completed their six-month basic training they are conditioned to behave in a correct manner and cope with the many dangers confronting them at checkpoints. Any and all examples of excesses are dealt with immediately. Your columnist should hang his head in shame that he has to be taken to task for willfully ignoring this fact. DAVID S. ADDLEMAN Mevaseret Zion