A New Year and New Ways in Israel

Megan Hunter

Shanah tova! A happy new year! As Jewish people around the world celebrate the beginning of the new year this month, HCI celebrates with them!

HCI in Israel - 2017

We were truly fortunate and grateful to visit Israel, not once, but twice, in the past year. HCI co-founder Bill Eddy made the long trip to speak to a warm and friendly group of family law professionals on high-conflict behaviors in family court. On this trip, he was introduced to several dedicated professionals who work hard to serve families in their small, yet extraordinarily diverse and ever-changing country.

HCI Again in Israel - Summer 2018

Just a few months later, both Bill and I were speaking at the Association of Family & Conciliation Courts conference in Washington DC where we met up with two Israelis whom Bill met during his time in Israel. They were most interested in our program, New Ways for Families. As life sometimes happens, I'd planned a vacation to Israel in July, which led to an invitation to meet for dinner -- and thus the email exchange and planning began.

And just a few short weeks later I found myself at breakfast on the coast of the Mediterranean in Tel Aviv with Tali Topilsky, PhD, Brookdale Institute, and Michal Fein, a collaborative divorce attorney also from Tel Aviv. Within the first hour we discovered our common goal to do something different for families because much of what we collectively are doing isn't working. And families suffer.

You see, Israel is not immune to the issues experienced by families around the world -- high-conflict behaviors seem to be increasing in Israel, and the courts and family law professionals are just as stymied by them as the rest of us, and they are feeling the frustration of wanting to help but not completely sure how to accomplish it.

Add to it that Israelis live in a constant state of anxiety due the conflicts in and surrounding their country. One person explained it this way, "we are so stressed and on edge that fighting is the natural first reaction." There are many complexities beyond "normal" divorce conflict issues, including two types of courts to deal with (religious and civil). Two years ago they took a bold step to implement a law, albeit a 3-year temporary law, that requires parents to meet with a social worker up to four times before proceeding to the big decisions. The new process reduced litigation significantly and resulted in parents negotiating parenting plans outside their busy courts.

New Ways in Israel

On the last two days of my trip to this amazing country that I can only describe as "vibrating" with life . . . and conflict, I had the great honor and privilege of meeting many professionals across family law and in the government to share the details of New Ways for Families with them.

And a pinnacle of my career occurred unexpectedly with an invitation to present New Ways for Families at the Knessett in Jerusalem on the invitation of MK Merav Michaeli, a politician dedicated to improving the lives of families and children. Take a look at some of the people making a difference for families in Israel!

Thank you to all of these warm, caring people who made me and my husband, Paul, feel so welcome and at home!

Megan HunterComment