Noam Huppert says that thanks to a quirk in Israeli divorce law, he has been banned from leaving the country for almost 8,000 years. The 44-year-old Australian citizen tells news.com.au that his former spouse moved to Israel in 2011, when one of their children was three months old and the other was five years old. He says he moved to the country the following year to be close to the children—but he has been banned from leaving until he pays more than $2 million in future child support payments under a "stay of exit" order a court handed down in 2013. Huppert says the "future debt" consists of payments of 5,000 shekels a month, around $1,600, until both children are 18.
Huppert, an analytical chemist employed by a pharmaceutical company, says he has not been able to leave Israel for any reason, including work, since the ruling. "Since 2013, I am locked in Israel," he says. The ban on leaving the country until Dec. 31, 9999 appears to have been set because that was the highest date that could be entered in the system, the Guardian notes. It's not clear whether the amount Huppert has been ordered to pay before he can leave the country includes outstanding payments as well as future ones. The US State Department has warned American citizens that they could be "subject to involuntary and prolonged stays" in Israel "if a case is filed against them in a religious court, even if their marriage took place in the United States, and regardless of whether their spouse is present in Israel." (Read more Israel stories.)