Three Israeli single fathers whose babies were born in Mexico to surrogate mothers finally arrived home, but their legal fight is still not over; The fathers and babies were held for three months in Mexico because local authorities refused to issue birth certificates, Israeli authorities refuse to give them permanent passports.
The three fathers with MK Yael German at one of the baby boys’ Bris ceremony
In an interview with David Toledo, one of the fathers, from his home in Israel, he tells A Wider Bridge that MK Haim Yellin, chairman of Mexico-Israel relations in the Knesset, was in close contact with them and did a great deal to help. But that was not what ultimately helped them get out of the traumatic situation of being held in a foreign country.
“We contacted a Mexican human rights organization based in Mexico City, an amazingly voluntary organization called GIRE,” David explains. “We moved from Tabasco to Mexico City, after two of their lawyers represented us and recieved Tabasco’s final notice that they were not going to issue a birth certificate. In Mexico City we worked to receive the children’s passports from the Israeli consulate. The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs gave the children passports for one year only, and the extension was contingent upon the presentation of Mexican birth certificates.
“At that point, the lawyers made the children foreign citizens, like us, so there was no reason not to leave Mexico, even without the birth certificates, and that’s what we did. We left Mexico lawfully, but the legal appeal there to receive the certificates continues, and GIRE continues to represent us. Two of their lawyers accompanied us to the airport while another lawyer was on the stand at the immigration department. We presented the Israeli passports and were granted permission to leave Mexico legally, together with the children.”
The three were received back in Israel with great love, warmth and support from their families and friends. “It’s not easy to get out of this trauma, but slowly we’re getting back into a routine,” Toledo says. “The two boys have already undergone circumcision in a surgical surgery (since they are too grown up -a delay of 3 months).
“Hanoch, Shaul and I are in daily contact. Our friendships have become so close that I believe they will remain alive. The hell we went through together in a foreign and distant country and the difficulties and imperviousness we experienced in Mexico, and unfortunately, even with the State of Israel’s Foreign Ministry, we became attached forever. We are still in the legal battle in Mexico in order to get the birth certificates. We also struggle with the Foreign Ministry here regarding the restrictions they imposed on the children’s passports. But fortunately we are at home and only here can I see how many children were not properly treated medically during the two-and-a-half-month stay in Mexico.”
David, Shaul and Hanoch are still concerned about the legal battle in Mexico. What if lawyers do not succeed? Are their children who were prisoners in Mexico going to be prisoners in Israel in a year’s time? “Unfortunately, instead of helping us, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs did everything possible to put a stick in the spokes of the wheels and all for fear of a diplomatic incident with Mexico after Netanyahu’s problematic and famous tweet that supported Trump on the construction of the wall … at the expense of our children.
“We returned and did not see that there had been any diplomatic incident with them. But this is how the Foreign Ministry and the State of Israel act, in confusion and fear. They didn’t mind leaving three Israeli babies in Mexico for a very long time.”