The children, two girls and a boy, were approximately 8 1/2, 4 1/2 and 4 1/2 respectively at the date of the alleged wrongful retention. They had lived in both Israel and the United States.
The parents were married and had joint rights of custody. In April 1997 the mother took the children to the United States for a fifteen month stay. This was with the consent of the father. They were scheduled to return to Israel in July 1998.
On 17 April 1998 the mother filed for marital dissolution in the Los Angeles County Superior Court; she was granted temporary custody, the father access. On 11 May 1998 the father filed for the return of the children under the Convention.