Wedding (illustrative)
Wedding (illustrative)Flash 90

The Knesset has approved a bill that would raise the minimum age for marriage to 18 in a first vote. The bill still faces a second and third vote.

MK Dov Henin (Hadash), the bill’s creator, praised the step forward. “The Knesset is sending an important message in defense of minors,” he said.

“Restricting marriage to age 18 is essential in order to protect young men, and young women especially, from forced marriage, which in many cases means harm to physical and emotional health,” he continued. Early, coerced marriage also means “a blow to [minors’] right to development, to education, and to their ability to enter the workplace,” he added.

The current minimum age for marriage is 17. The new law would bring Israel in line with international treaties, which state that anyone under age 18 is considered a child.

The law would allow courts to grant an exception in cases where the marriage is deemed to be in the minor’s best interests, as long as the minors involved are at least 16 years of age.