Details of Disappearance Ofir's parents, Oshrat and Sharon Ben-Haim, are both from Israel. They moved to the United States in 2004 and began living together in 2006. They married in Israel in 2008, then returned to the United States to live in an apartment in Fair Lawn, New Jersey. Ofir was born there, making her an American citizen. Oshrat was attending Manhattan Community College on a student visa, while Sharon worked and was the sole provider for the family. The Ben-Haims' marriage ran into problems because Sharon was more religious than his wife.
On March 25, 2010, the entire family traveled to Israel to celebrate an extended passover holiday with family members. Oshrat and Sharon didn't spend much time together; Sharon stayed at his mother's house, and Oshrat and Ofir stayed at Oshrat's parents' house. Oshrat initiated divorce proceedings against her husband in a rabbinical court, and sought to keep him and Ofir from leaving Israel.
Sharon and Oshrat began negotiating a divorce settlement, but neither of them had signed a binding contract before Sharon's scheduled return to the United States on April 20. He stated he expected Oshrat and Ofir to come back to the U.S. on June 20, something they'd agreed before their visit to Israel. Although they had plane tickets purchased in advance, Oshrat and Ofir never made their flight.
A felony warrant for kidnapping was issued for Oshrat on December 21, 2011. In August 2010, two and a half years after she took Ofir to Israel, New Jersey authorities indicted her on six counts of custodial inference and two counts of violation of a court order.
Photos of Oshrat is posted with this case summary. Her date of birth is November 5, 1981, making her 28 years old at the time of Ofir's abduction. She's described as Caucasian, 5'1 and 95 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes.
A New Jersey court ordered Oshrat to return Ofir to the United States immediately, but she ignored the order and they can't enforce it, since Israel is outside their jurisdiction. Sharon attempted to have Ofir returned to his care through the Israeli courts, but they demanded he present himself in person at the hearings. He left his job and his life in America, traveled to Israel and stayed there for four months to work with the courts system.
An Israeli judge ordered that Oshrat to go back to the United States with Ofir, and also ordered Sharon to rent an apartment for his wife and deposit $6,000 for her use. Oshrat appealed the order, and an appeals court upheld the ruling but changed the deposit sum from $6,000 to $10,000. Oshrat took her appeal to the Israeli Supreme Court, which ruled unanimously that she'd unlawfully abducted her daughter.
However, the court also ruled that Ofir should stay in Israel and her father should go there to pursue the custody case. An American judge examined the Israeli Supreme Court ruling and determined they'd acted against the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, a treaty both Israel and the United States signed.
Sharon has had only sporadic contact with his child since 2010, and he hasn't seen her at all before her first birthday. Oshrat has refused to return her to the United States in spite of numerous court rulings against her in both the United States and Israel. The child's case remains unsolved.
- Fair Lawn Police Department
Updated 2 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated September 10, 2018; picture added.