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Here for 7,978 more years

Australian claims he can’t leave Israel until 9999 due to unpaid child support

Noam Huppert says he received a ‘stay of exit’ order from an Israeli court in 2013, and that a court demand for ‘future debt’ prevents him from departing country

An illustrative photo of an El Al plane taking off from Ben Gurion Airport on September 3, 2014. (Moshe Shai/Flash90)
An illustrative photo of an El Al plane taking off from Ben Gurion Airport on September 3, 2014. (Moshe Shai/Flash90)

An Australian national has claimed that an unusual quirk in Israeli family law is preventing him from leaving the country until the year 9999, unless he pays some NIS 350,000 ($112,000) in child support.

Noam Huppert, a 44-year-old analytical chemist, said he received a “stay of exit” order from an Israeli court in 2013, limiting any ability to travel outside the country for another 7,978 years.

Huppert moved to Israel in 2012, shortly after his wife, who is an Israeli citizen, returned to the country with their young children, who were three-months-old and five-years-old at the time. She filed for divorce a year later and a court ordered that Huppert pay NIS 5,000 ($1,600) per month until they turned 18.

He said the order from the court required the payment of “future debt” on the child support before the “stay of exit” would be lifted.

It was widely reported that Huppert owed more than $3 million in child support, including the “future debt.” He told The Times of Israel that this figure is wildly exaggerated, though he said Israel nevertheless has some of the highest child support demands in the world.

Huppert said that regardless of how much he owes, to essentially hold him hostage for “future debt” is a violation of his human rights.

“I’m not the only person,” Huppert said. “There are people who have it much worse than me.”

Huppert also said that he is struggling, but trying to stay optimistic.

“Since 2013, I am locked in Israel,” Huppert told the Australian news site news.com.au. He claimed Australian citizens have been “persecuted by the Israeli ‘justice’ system only because they were married to Israeli women.”

Huppert added that he was speaking out “to help others who may suffer this literally life-threatening experience.”

According to Israeli attorney Michael Decker, there are usually three reasons why a “stay of exit” order is issued by the courts during divorce proceedings: to prevent the “kidnapping” of a child without the other party’s consent; to prevent making the wife an agunah — where the woman is unable to remarry, due to her technically still being married according to Jewish law; or to prevent the evasion of alimony payments.

The issue of child support payments has previously come up before the Supreme Court, which, in a 2017 landmark case, ruled that divorced women should also participate in child support payments, and that it was not the sole responsibility of the father to provide alimony.

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