Gavel [Illustrative]. (photo credit:INIMAGE)

Three children of Israeli parents in Michigan have been living in a juvenile detention center for the past two weeks.

What was the crime that they committed to landed them in there? They refused to have lunch with their father.

According to the report by¬† Detroit’s Fox 2 News affiliate on Wednesday, the situation began when Maya Tsimhoni and Omer Tsimhoni were in court on June 24 over supervised parenting time. Things took a very unexpected turn.

Judge Lisa Gorcyca became upset, according to the report, and ordered the children to apologize to their father, Omer Tsimhoni. She told them to have a “healthy relationship” with him and “go have some lunch.”

The children, aged 9, 10 and 14 from the Detroit suburb of Bloomfield Hills, refused. Gorcyca held them in contempt of the court and ordered them to live at the Children’s Village, a county juvenile detention center with children from troubled and neglected backgrounds, until they are 18. For the two youngest children, that would mean almost a decade in the center.

This came even after one of the children explained to the court “he is violent and I saw him hit my mom.”

Gorcyca responded to this by comparing them to the Charles Manson cult and claimed that their mother was brainwashing them.

Their mother, Maya Tsimhoni, has been distraught ever since the court order and said she is not able to eat or sleep.

“I felt like I was watching them be executed,” Tsimhoni said. “I cannot understand something like that can even happen in this country.”

She said admittingly that the divorce has been a difficult one and even at times involved kidnapping allegations, but maintained that “no matter how bad the divorce gets, I think the court should not punish the kids for that.”

The mother is not allowed visitations with her children at the detention center either.

Maya’s representative, Lisa Stern, said that this case shocked her, even after 20 years practicing family law. “I know laws were violated and I know that the children were punished for crimes they did not commit.”

Stern said many other options that could have been taken, even if the judge had felt the children were being endangered.

The children could be released immediately if dad Omer decided that they learned their lesson. However, he quickly left for
a two-week business trip in Israel the day after the court hearing.

Gorcyca has denied the mother’s appeal for an emergency hearing and the case is up for review again in September unless action is taken before that time.

As reported by The Jerusalem Post