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A family court this week overturned a two-year-old ruling, which gave custody of a 5-year-old boy to his American father. The decision was issued a day after the mother accused the father of having raped her.

The Ramat Gan Family Court was responding to an appeal by the mother, an Israeli, who was arrested last week on suspicion of kidnapping her son from the United States. In its ruling on Wednesday, it effectively accepted the mother's argument that the original ruling in the case was issued without her views being heard, as she was never informed about the hearing. It therefore decided that the case should be reheard from scratch.

The woman, 38, was arrested last week after a routine license check by the Kiryat Shmona Police revealed an outstanding arrest warrant against her on charges of kidnapping her son from his father's custody. The father then flew to Israel and demanded that his son be returned to him, in line with the original 2006 verdict.

On Tuesday, however, the woman filed a complaint with the police charging that the boy was born as a result of a rape that his father perpetrated on her. The police immediately opened an investigation into this complaint.

"It is inconceivable that an Israeli court should take a child away from a woman who was raped and hand him over to the man who, according to her complaint, raped her," declared the woman's lawyer, Nechama Tsivin, after the hearing. "I'm in a war over my child, and ask anyone who is willing to listen not to let the rapist take him from me," the mother added.

According to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, the court now has six weeks to issue a final ruling on the custody question.