Bill Would Raise Minimum Marriage Age to 18 for Girls

The bill, proposed by Balad MK Hanin Zuabi, is opposed by the cabinet but supported by most of the Knesset, including religious MKs.

The Knesset will vote today on the preliminary reading of a bill that would raise the minimum marriage age for women from 17 to 18.

"The absurd thing is that the current law allows girls under age 18 to marry, but not to vote or to undergo medical examinations without parental approval," said MK Hanin Zuabi (Balad ), who proposed the bill.

MK Hanin Zuabi
Knesset Channel

Zuabi said that although the cabinet opposes the bill, most Knesset members, including religious ones, support it.

According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, in 2008, 1,455 girls age 17 and 636 girls age 16 or younger got married. In 2008, 69 17-year-old boys got married.

The bill was first formulated in 2004 by the Council for the Welfare of the Child, and there have been a number of attempts to move it through the Knesset since then.

The law will not impair the court's authority to permit minors to marry at age 16 under special circumstances, such as pregnancy.