The Right to be a Parent
The child custody law
My son was eleven months old when I got divorced. 16 years ago the law in the State of Israel stated that children of divorced parents automatically remained in the mother's custody until the age of six. This ruling is known as "the child custody law." But since then there have been many changes and there has been a serious erosion in this archaic perception which originated in the period when women remained in the home in order to raise the children whereas the men went out to work.
In modern times the question repeatedly arises of to whom to grant the right to be the decisive parent, the leading parent, the parent in whose custody the children remain, as if they are some kind of object like a plant.
Let us suppose that a child is a plant. In order for the plant to survive and its leaves always green, it has to be watered and nurtured. Does someone who possesses a plant always know with what to water it, how to water and how to nurture it? Is someone who possesses a plant truly capable of looking after this plant in a perfect manner throughout his lifetime?
In my view children are not plants. Children are not objects to be passed from one to the other. A child has the full right to meet and spend time with both his divorced parents on an equal basis. Not every woman knows how to water plants or else how to raise children perfectly, and the role of the father, of the man, and the extent of his influence on his children from the dawn of history cannot be gainsaid. Even if the law courts and the legal systems in the most advanced states tend to grant women the right to raise their children and determine their fate, this does not mean that they are right.
Children, particularly the little ones, grow up in a world whose barriers were long ago broken down, and in which the advanced technology provides them with everything at the touch of a button, whether it be TV, computer or the smart phone. Children today are much more receptive than in the past and grow up much faster than in the past. They are like a big sponge, which soaks up incessantly, and when the time comes they rebel and go their own ways, and somewhere in their forties or fifties they return and frequently visit their elderly parents, even if not all of them do so.
In today's technological world a woman has actually no advantage over a man or vice-versa. Men are also capable of raising their children and caring for them when they are sick, or to cook a warm meal for them. The dramatic breakdown of borders, and the fact that today one may move from place to place almost without limitation also leads to erosion in the most important cell, in the most important element of a society, which is the nuclear family.
If we get rid of all the bad parameters, and abolish the right of possession, and abolish the alimony payments given to a woman or the children after the divorce, and we determine by law that each one of the couple must bear the burden of raising the children equally, even if they are divorced, possibly then people will enter into wedlock from absolute choice, and will make sure to preserve the nuclear cell which they have established. All this in tandem with education for tolerance and absolute equality between the two sexes from infancy.
Some time ago divorced Israeli men set up a protest tent opposite the parliament of the State of Israel, the Knesset. They were protesting the discrimination against them. They were protesting, in fact, against the modern feminism which, in its mad race for equal rights between women and men, is trampling underfoot the rights of both the men and of the children. Two organizations joined together in the framework of the protest tent, with the avowed aim of convincing Mrs. Ayelet Shaked, the Israeli Minister of Justice, to change or abolish the current law, which shamefully infringes the visiting arrangements of children with their fathers.
The custody of the child drives some women crazy, and the fear of the system of being seen as harmful to the women in the modern age only increasingly prejudices the rights of the fathers and the children. How is it possible that a father will not see his children or be unable to embrace them every day, or give them a good night kiss every night? Who decided that children of divorced parents must and have to endure this absolute separation between the two homes without being able to move freely from the mother's home to that of the father whenever they so desire?
Since my divorce I have fought for the right to be a parent for my son. Later on, I fought for the right to be a parent to my daughter from another wife. In my view wars are unnecessary. The children will grow up, and the day will come when all that we have accumulated together will float to the surface, and they will understand that together with the common cliché among the women -"there is only one Mother" - there also exists the saying "there is none like Father."
Fathers and mothers will embrace their children, will protect them and educate them together for values, and lead to a better world for us all. Therefore, today, in my opinion, there is no need to burn more bras or to set up more and more associations for women and for the reinforcement of women. This is the role of the father, this is the role of the mother, and this is the right to be a parent.