The children, two girls and a boy, were 13, 3 and 10 respectively at the date of the alleged wrongful retention. They had lived in both Denmark and Israel. The parents were married and had joint rights of custody.
In December 1997 the family travelled to Norway to visit the maternal grandparents. At the time the mother was heavily pregnant with a fourth child. In early January 1998 the mother left the father and took the children to a battered woman’s refuge. The father returned to Israel alone.
On 15 January the fourth child was born in Norway. The parents re-established contact and the mother agreed to return to Israel in late May. However, she did not keep to this agreement and the father petitioned for the return of the children under the Convention.