JERUSALEM (JTA) — A bill raising the legal age for marriage in Israel from 17 to 18 passed the Knesset plenum in a preliminary vote.
The vote Tuesday was 38-8, with one abstention. Knesset member Yariv Levin of the Likud Party introduced the bill, which still must pass three readings in the Knesset.
Bedouin and haredi Orthodox women marry at young ages, and often do not finish high school or continue on to higher education.
"This is a historical step that will fix an injustice done to minors, mostly females, who marry young," Ynet quoted Levin as saying. "Should the bill pass, it will save thousands of young women from being forced into marriage, poverty and domestic violence, and give them an equal opportunity to start their lives as they wish."