Kidnapped American sisters found safe in Israel, reunited with father

Police discover girls unharmed in Haifa suburb, arrest mother who allegedly abducted them.

By World Israel News Staff

Two American sisters who were reportedly kidnapped by their mother were found unharmed on Monday and reunited with their father at a police station in northern Israel.

The happy news came after a frantic week-long search, which was triggered by the girls’ mother failing to return the children to their father’s custody at the agreed upon time and place, and then cutting off all communications with him regarding their whereabouts.

Sara and Liba Goldschmidt, ages 12 and 8, were discovered with their mother in the Haifa suburb of Kiryat Yam. Their mother was arrested.

Ofer Goldschmidt, the girls’ father, told Hebrew-language media that he has primary custody of his daughters, who were born in the U.S. and are being raised there. Goldschmidt’s ex-wife does have visitation rights for the girls, but is not their main caretaker.

She also has an older son whom she is not allowed to see except for in supervised settings, Goldschmidt said.

The parents are both originally Israeli and have been living in the U.S. for decades. Goldschmidt is an American citizen, as are his daughters, though it’s unclear if the ex-wife holds dual nationality.

Read  'We may be condemned to fight again for the right to be Jewish' - Steven Spielberg

A judge in an American family court ruled that Goldschmidt’s ex-wife could take the children to Israel for a short vacation, but specified that she must return the girls to their father’s custody while still in the country.

Goldschmidt called police after his ex-wife failed to show up with the girls at a Tel Aviv train station as they had previously agreed upon.

The ex-wife and daughters did not respond to repeated calls and texts from Goldschmidt, sparking fears about the girls’ physical safety.

“I couldn’t really sleep because of so many worrying thoughts,” Goldschmidt told Walla News last week, before his daughters were located.

“It is hard for me to not know where they are. They are smart and my older daughter is already more mature and has a resourceful character. I know she will know what to do, heaven forbid, if bad things happen.”

Before the alleged abduction, the girls were last seen at their maternal grandmother’s house in the central city of Gedera.

During the investigation, the grandmother, in her 70s, was arrested by police on suspicion of abetting the kidnapping.