Home Office acts on child neglect case

Immigration officials have told the JC this week that solving the case of two Israeli children who entered Britain unaccompanied was a "top priority".

The sister and brother, aged 12 and nine, have been in the care of social services for more than a month while attempts are made to organise their repatriation.

They were sent to Britain by their mother, a 38-year-old Russian-born Israeli, who was later arrested by Tel Aviv police on suspicion of neglect.

On Wednesday, a UK Home Office spokeswoman said: "We are working closely with the Israeli authorities and our partners in the child-welfare authorities to make this a top priority.

"The international law on children removed from their own country is very complex and quite rightly has many safeguards to keep the welfare of the children in everyone's minds."

An initial attempt to send the girl back to Israel on July 28 failed when she refused to board the plane.
Last month, Liora Givon, Israel's consul in London, visited the girl at the children's facility in West London where she is staying. But embassy officials confirmed this week that no further visits have followed.

It is not known whether the boy is with his sister. He is thought to have been sent to Britain up to a year ago, and was living with an Israeli family in Leeds.

He was only taken into care at the end of July after the Home Office notified the Israeli embassy that the girl was being held following her arrival at Heathrow on June 22.

The youngsters are not thought to have had any contact with Jewish communities or organisations during their time here.

A Norwood spokesman said the charity was willing to assist social services if required.

    Last updated: 2:05pm, August 21 2008