A bill prohibiting marriage under the age of 18 was recently approved in the Knesset, the new development changed the previous minimum age of 17. The Ministerial Committee on Legislation approved the bill initiated by MK Yariv Levin. Five ministers supported the bill and only one opposed, naturally, Minister Mushulam Nahari from Shas.
According to Levin, the minimum age of marriage must be aligned with worldwide norms and legal developments in underage marriage. This phenomena compromised the underage person’s rights, among these rights is the right to be joined in matrimony with full knowledgeable consent and with a right mind. Underage women are most at danger, in these kinds of marriages, as they are being wed according to traditional ideologies in which a woman’s place is at home and her life roll is limited to bearing and raising children. That is why the young woman’s consent might be a result of pressure from their family and in fact the marriage is forced. Furthermore, according to the bill, studies indicate that a large percent of underage marriages end up in divorce as well as violence and financial difficulties due to the couples’ young age and lack of maturity.
During the debate a representative from The Ministry of Justice stated that the office supports the bill. He explained that as the law rules 18 as the legal eligibility age, it is only appropriate that marriage, a legal declaration, will be prohibited under the legal eligibility age. The representative also stated that the Ministry of Justice also supports the clause that stipulates that a marriage license will be given at the age of 16 only in special cases.
This is indeed a historical landmark that will correct an injustice caused to young people, and especially underage women. This bill is social by nature and its approval will have a direct effect by sparing thousands from forced marriages, poverty and violence and will give them the opportunity to commence their lives however they choose. The bill is soon to be put for a preliminary vote at the Knesset.