My wife ran off our kids to Israel while I was at work and refuses to come back. Where should I take legal action to get the children back to the States, where we have been living for several years and where we have our business- in Israel or America?

In Israel - where you should bring Hague Convention child abduction proceedings for the return of your abducted children to the United States. Sometimes the Israeli court will ask for an opinion from the foreign court or government body but only the relevant court in Israel -where  the abducted child/ren are currently present - will have the jurisdiction to hear the child abduction case  and to actually return the children overseas.

 

Both Israel and the U.S.A. are bound by an international civil law convention that deals with unilateral movement  (whether it be  wrongful removal and./or  wrongful retention) of  a childr/en by one parent  from one country to another , in your case, from America to Israel. This convention creates  fast-track civil proceedings  for the return of abducted child/ren to the/ir country of habitual residence. Hague Convention child abduction proceedings are not custody proceedings - they  deal with whether a return order is granted or not.

The idea is that custody proceedings should be determined in a child's home country (his/her country of habitual residence) where his/her best interests can be assessed properly. If the Hague proceedings held in Israel are successful, and a return order is granted (and is unchanged on appeal, if challenged), then the child/ren will be returned overseas, and  custody proceedings will take place there. If a return order is refused (and not overturned on appeal, if appealed), then the children will remain in Israel,and custody proceedings will proceed in Israel.