We’ve all become accustomed to various travel bans and restrictions over the last two years but one Australian man has been barred from leaving Israel until the year 9999 over outstanding child support payments.
Noam Huppert, 44, has been stuck in Israel since 2013 when a court issued a ‘stay of exit’ order against the Australian citizen in a dispute over child support payments.
In 2013, Huppert was ordered to pay roughly $3.34 million to support his children until they reach the age of 18. He can leave Israel if he pays the outstanding amount in full, otherwise, he is stuck in the country for another 7,977 years.
No one knows for sure why the year 9999 was chosen but it appears this was the maximum date that the computer system would recognise.
“Since 2013, I am locked in Israel,” Huppert told NewsAu. He said that he was one of many foreign citizens who are being “persecuted by the Israeli justice system only because they were married to Israeli women.”
Even if Huppert did manage to pay off his debts, Israel’s pandemic travel restrictions would still bar him from travelling to 68 so-called Red List countries including Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.
The US State Department warns travellers that Israeli courts routinely bar foreign nationals from leaving the country over outstanding debts.
“Civil and religious courts in Israel actively exercise their authority to bar certain individuals, including nonresidents, from leaving the country until debts or other legal claims against them are resolved,” the State Department warns.
“U.S. citizens, including those without Israeli citizenship, should be aware that they may be subject to involuntary and prolonged stays (and even imprisonment) in Israel if a case is filed against them in a religious court”.
Religious courts have jurisdiction over child support cases.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.