Perhaps not surprisingly, divorce is on the rise in Israel, as is the phenomenon of fathers withholding child support payments. The documentary, Reinvestigation, directed by Anat Yuta Zuria and Shira Clara Winther, covers this issue from multiple perspectives. This is a tragic story within Israeli society and it must be faced head-on. Here it is told in a compelling way.
Ella is a 28-year-old ultra-orthodox single woman who works as a private investigator. The film tells the story of her involvement in a case about a father who refuses to pay child support and how this leads her into investigating the entire phenomenon within Israeli society. She finds women who have suffered, and multiple young adults whose fathers didn’t pay and who are still resentful. One woman wants her father’s name removed from her identity card. One young man wants to sue his father. These adults feel abandoned, both financially and emotionally.
Ella also discovers the movement for father’s rights and interviews some of the men, one of whom tells her that forcing a father to pay child support is just a way to ruin him financially. Some of these fathers have learned a trick – they demand joint custody so that they don’t have to pay support, but then they just don’t take responsibility for the joint custody. One mother, Yael, talks about the feeling of abandonment when she learns about the money that her ex is earning, but continuing to withhold payments for the children’s support. In fact, she is sure that the children would be destroyed if they heard that their father had money.
Is having children a risky business? In a moment of genuine openness, Ella talks about her own personal life and she reveals that she has a fear of falling in love because she has seen in her work so much suffering and divorce, and is therefore convinced that getting married and having children can be a difficult enterprise.
Reinvestigation (documentary, 70 minutes) is available from Ruth Films.