The children, two boys and two girls, were aged 3, 5, 9 and 10 at the date of the alleged wrongful removal. They had lived in the United States since 1988. The parents were married, and had joint custody under NY law. On 19 August 1992, the mother removed the children to Israel. She moved to Gush Katif, in the Gaza Strip.
On 22 August the father applied to the Family Court in New York for custody of the children. His claim was dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. On 31 August the mother applied to the Jerusalem Rabbinical Court for divorce, maintenance and custody. It ordered that the children be placed in the mother’s custody.
On 25 February 1993 the father applied to the Jerusalem District Court for the return of his children under the Hague Convention Law. The Attorney General – who acts as the Central Authority under the Convention – applied to the Rabbinical Court (in accordance with Article 16), requesting a stay of the custody proceedings until the Convention application was determined.
On 19 October 1993 the Jerusalem District Court (Judge Shidlovski-Or) accepted the father’s claims. The court ruled that the mother had wrongfully removed the children from the US, and that they should be returned. The mother appealed to the Supreme Court.