A 12-year-old Israeli girl who arrived alone at London’s Heathrow Airport refused to board an El Al plane to return home.
The unnamed girl who would not board the plane Monday had arrived in Britain a month ago. She was detained by immigration officials when no one met her at the airport. The girl had the address of a family friend that turned out to be incorrect.
Israeli police located the girl’s mother, who said she did not want her daughter to return to Israel. The mother also told police she already had sent her 9-year-old son to a friend in London. A younger child was removed from his mother’s home and is now staying with his father.
British police found the 9-year-old boy in Leeds, in the north of England. The woman with whom he was staying claimed to be his legal guardian.
The mother was arrested in Israel, and in court she claimed that she could not care for her children and wanted them to live in Britain permanently. She told reporters that she would like her daughter to get political asylum in the United Kingdom.
Israeli police suspect the mother sold her children, but still have no proof.
British social services will work with Israeli social workers to try to convince the girl to return to Israel.