‘Give me my husband or I’ll tie myself to railings’
A British woman has threatened to chain herself to the railings of Israel's Supreme Court unless her husband is given a court hearing.
Marianne Azizi's Israeli husband Ilan, whom she married in May, has been unable to leave Israel for the past two years due to an unresolved dispute with his ex-wife over child maintenance payments.
Mrs Azizi, 47, claims that her 44-year-old husband was placed on a stop order by the Israeli authorities in 2006, which prevented him from leaving the country. Since then he has allegedly been waiting for a family court judge to rule on a suitable settlement for him and his ex-wife.
Until his case is concluded by the court, Mrs Azizi, from Welwyn Garden City, said he cannot return to the UK to live with her.
"My husband has been waiting for two years to have this case settled in court, and the stress has destroyed his life," she said.
"He is living a nightmare existence. He is being denied his human rights to live with his wife and he is now suffering a breakdown."
The mother of two boys, aged 11 and 17, says that her husband - with whom she has been in a relationship for five years - had tried to commit suicide on more than one occasion. Now she is scared for his life.
A spokeswoman for Israel's Courts Administration said that Mr Azizi and his ex-wife were given a deadline of next Sunday to notify the court if they could come to an agreement between themselves. If they were unable to do so, the court would "decide upon the next procedure accordingly".
Bur Mrs Azizi said that her husband had been waiting for two years for the court to resolve the dispute and that she would be going to the Supreme Court in Jerusalem the same day to demand that the case is heard. "He is going to be dead by next week if nothing is done," she said.
"That's why I'm going. If the case is not heard then I will tie myself to the railings outside.
"I am doing this because I am desperate. I would not do it if things weren't critical."
Apart from the mental and emotional effects, Mrs Azizi said the situation had taken a huge financial toll on the couple.
"We lost our businesses because he was not here to work and I was spending so much of my time on trying to get his case heard, and on going to Israel so often to see him.
"We had a stainless steel manufacturing business with £100,000 worth of contacts. I am a behavioural psychologist and I ran a consultancy business with an annual turnover of £1 million."
Now, she says, her £500,000 six-bedroom house in Hatfield has been repossessed. "I live in a rented two-bedroom flat and am on income support. Our whole life has been turned upside down."
Her husband, whose children are aged six, 14 and 18, echoed his wife's comments. "I have seen a judge only twice in the past two years. I just want to get a judgment and a settlement so this can all be finished.
"I have almost killed myself because of this. It is destroying my life and Marianne's."
He says that he does not have anywhere permanent to live and so is staying at his parents' and brother's homes. "I am living minute by minute and my whole life revolves around getting this sorted out."
An Israeli Courts Administration spokeswoman said: "The proceedings in the case are taking place in the Family Court and are therefore taking place behind closed doors.
"Both sides have notified the court that they are negotiating a financial agreement to resolve all the differences between them and that on August 10, they will notify the court if they have succeeded."