Daily Israel Report

MK: Marriage at 17 Continues Circle of Poverty

MK Gila Gamliel praises bill to raise marriage age, says it will help Israel’s economy as well as protecting minors.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 6/19/2012, 12:10 PM

Gila Gamliel
Gila Gamliel
Flash 90

MK Gila Gamliel (Likud) expressed satisfaction Tuesday as a bill to increase the age of marriage to 18 passed its first Knesset reading. Gamliel is the deputy minister tasked with issues relating to young adults, students and women, and was among the MKs who sponsored the bill.

The bill will help young Israelis break the cycle of poverty, she said. Marriage at 17, while most are still in high school, “does not allow for higher education, hurts teens’ chances of social mobility, and continues the cycle of poverty to another generation.”

“Raising the age of marriage will allow minors to take full advantage of their right to free education, until age 18,” she said.

Gamliel also condemned underage marriage for its emotional impact on youth. “The voices of girls forced to marry are not heard… Underage marriage is a bad thing, both morally and when it comes to health,” she said.

Raising the marriage age “will create a better, healthier society,” she declared.

Proponents of the bill have also noted that international law considers 17-year-olds to be children, and that many countries in the Middle East and around the world have raised the minimum age of marriage to 18.