Daily Israel Report

Hareidi MKs Angry as Marriage Age Raised to 18

Knesset gives final approval, 55:11, to law raising legal marriage age to 18, from 17. MK Makleb: "Where are our civil rights?"
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 11/5/2013, 12:36 PM

A hareidi wedding
A hareidi wedding
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Hareidi MKs were the only ones Monday to oppose a law raising the legal age for marriage in Israel from 17 to 18. The law passed in its final readings by a vote of 55:11 in the Knesset plenum.

In the course of a tempestuous debate, MK Uri Makleb (United Torah Judaism) accused the government of an anti-religious bias. “Every time that a law with a religious character comes up for a vote, the entire government and the Coalition members enlist to support it and hurt religion,” he said.

"In certain circles, in the leadership of the circles, there are normative and ripe marriages at an early age, with the proper preparation and clear support,” MK Makleb explained. “This is something that has existed for generations, no one complains about it and no one will complain about it – but the law's authors are unhappy.”

"Where are the civil rights that you are always extolling? How can you legislate a law to prevent the will of a person, a family, to act in accordance with their world view? It must be that the purpose of the law is to hurt people only because this is their custom and tradition.”

UTJ Chairman MK Menachem Moses also attacked the law, saying it makes no sense. “Young people under 18 are responsible enough to get a driver's license, to enlist to the IDF, to consume inebriating beverages – but of all things, they are not allowed to marry,” he noted.

MK Moses said that he had just returned from a visit to the US. “The Jewish communities there look at what is going on in Israel, and the subjects that Israeli politics are concerned with, and they are open-mouthed with wonder. They think it is a delusional country... A country that is surrounded by enemies from all sides, which deals with terrible dangers, has nothing better to do than to deal with delusional bills, each one more so than the other.”