Israeli Judge disqualifies himself from father's rights case
A remarkable victory was achieved for a high profile father in Israel. Roni Cashi, a prominent activist against the closed door practices of the judicial system, has made no secret of his opinions. He has posted constantly on social media; set up a fathers group called the 'Orange Fathers', where men are clothed in orange prison suits with anonymous masks, handcuffs and make silent public protests in public.
Roni has a son of four and a half years of age. From the moment his son was born, Roni has only been able to see him for an hour a week in a contact centre. The reason given? That he is a dangerous man, and needs a plethora of assessments and continual observation by the heavy handed welfare system.
His suffering was bared for the public to see. Not able to understand why he has been unable to see his son under normal circumstances, he fought back. On one occasion, he recorded a judge in court who told him there were NO tools for fathers in Israeli courts, with a disclaimer he would never admit to saying it. He explained to Cashi that there simply was nothing in the system which would assist a father who was wrenched from his children.
Following this astounding revelation, he then gave Cashi approximately a minute to make his case. Cashi published the recording, to face a barrage of police activity and complaints against him. He was ordered to remove posts, stop publishing on Facebook and was thrown into despair.
After many unsuccessful attempts with several lawyers, he hired Attorney Meir Mickey Givati – juvenile and family lawyer. As an expert in procedure and process, his first task was to clear the quagmire of appeals and sidetracks.
One month ago, he sent an appeal to the current judge. Basing his appeal that the dangerousness of the father was only claimed to be from his publications against judges Citing criminal laws, he claimed that if this was the situation, and the judge was one of those criticised, then he should remove himself from the file, or better still to close the file altogether. If the judge was upset, he should file a complaint to the police and admit there is no reason here of dangerousness between father and son.
Attorney Givati says; 'The whole process since the child was born has been claims by the mother of objecting to the father using a different name for his son; publishing his disagreements on Facebook and raising protests. This is all a democratic right in most countries, not so here. My client faced constant harassment. However, there has not been a shred of evidence that he is not a good father. Quite the contrary. He dotes on his son for his one hour per week. The bond should be built in a normative setting. We hope this legal move will help speed up the process.'
It is rare in Israel for a judge to withdraw from an ongoing case. Mostly, men will appeal decisions, rather than the process itself. Roni Cashi is a man fighting for his son, and has spent years publishing his disgust in a radical feminist system which he has proven resulted in no help for men. The glimmer of hope for fathers is the method of fighting the procedures themselves, and in this respect Attorney Givati has a high success rate. Patience is required. Children can be taken or wrenched from parents in a heartbeat. Returning parents to the status quo takes much longer.