Israeli Father and British Journalist Arrested
One month ago the mother of Ariel's son Avraham moved house without notifying him. There is a shared custody contract in place. The child is to be raised in the city of Petach Tikvah by both parents. Previous attempts were made by the mother to take the boy away and was ordered to return to the town. Ariel went to the police to make complaints and also the courts to discover the wherabouts of his son. The only information he was given was his son was in a settlement called Niilli. No address. He had tried in vain to contact the mother but with no reply. One cop had told him to go to the settlement and wait at the entrance to try and see him.
Court processes failed Ariel - he had been given a financial penalty of 5000 NIS when he appealed last week, with a further requirement to deposit 20,000 NIS for a further appeal to find his son. So Ariel decided to go and find Avraham. The mother had a free lawyer, despite her high salary - finding a loophole in the law which most women can take advantage of.
He asked me to film him in order to protect him. It was to prove to be the opposite as we were all subsequently arrested. Arriving in the town, Ariel saw his ex's car parked in an open space. So his first step was to check the neighbourhood:
After a few houses, Ariel arrived at the home of Yaniv and Meytal Gordo, Yaniv is allegedly the Office of Technologies at the Israel Jail System. Ariel knocked on the door and showed a photo of Avraham. Meytal said she hadn't seen him and closed the door. Ariel knew instinctively this is where his son was. After checking houses on the street below, he saw all the toys and bike which were Avrahams in a garden. Returning upstairs he saw the house access was through the Gordo's gate. On trying to enter, he saw the gate was locked. The couple came out and although he was on the street outside accused Ariel of trespassing.
Meytal admitted that indeed Ariel's son was living in the house below. She claimed that the ex said Ariel wasn't interested in his son despite her efforts to arrange visits. She told me she was confused and didn't know who to believe. He husband tried to stop her talking to me. He appeared to be very agitated and angry. This was only going in one direction. Meanwhile Yaniv Gordo claimed he would bring the police and have Ariel arrested. Within a minute or so, the settlement security arrived. Ariel was calm and collected throughout, unlike the couple who had lied to him about Avraham.
Continuing to film Ariel, the police arrived. Shy David the officer from Modiin Illit refused to give Ariel his police number. The dialogue continued. The filming continued.
At approximately 1.30pm the police decided to invite Ariel for an investigation. He was to be held on the grounds of trespassing. I decided then it was time to leave and catch up with him a few hours later...
On trying to exit the settlement I was stopped at the gate, as the security car cut in front of me. With my cameraman, I was told I was not allowed to leave. I was informed that the police wanted to ask some questions. I made calls to lawyers who advised me that as a journalist they would not be able to arrest me or take my property. Ariel had not yet been taken away. It turned out we were to be arrested. My own experience in the police station is another story in itself. Yaniv Gordo seemed determined to have us all arrested. Perhaps it was because he had been discovered to be harbouring mother and son based on false claims. Tonight Ariel faces a case in Jerusalem after being held all night.
He stayed calm throughout the whole event, including at the police. I did hear him a couple of times at the station and saw him handcuffed and in a small holding cell. After 9 or 10 hours he had started to raise his voice . I heard him shouting that after 9 hours he had not yet been investigated. I was also in a similar situation. Because Ariel is a big man, there were inferences to me that he would probably be a violent man. Fortunately I was able to retrieve these videos from my equipment to show that this father behaved admirably and calmly throughout. Is this what it has to come to when a bereaved father is searching for his little boy?