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Lowering of Marriage Age for Girls Suggested by Israel Minister

December 9, 1959
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Rabbi Jacob Toledano, Minister of Religious Affairs, asserted in debate today in the Knesset, Israel’s Parliament, that Israel’s hot climate produces a more rapid development in girls and, therefore, the minimum age for marriage for them should be 15 instead of the present 17 years of age.

In debate on amendments to the Israel marriage law, Rabbi Toledano’s proposal was opposed by Pinchas Rosen, Minister of Justice, who urged that the present minimum age be retained. Under existing law, marriage for a girl under 17 is permissible only if the girl is pregnant or if she has given birth.

The amendment under consideration would authorize Israel courts to permit marriage for a girl under 17 “if circumstances Justify,” and not only in cases of unmarried pregnancy or birth. There is no secular law in Israel on a minimum age for the bridegroom.

Explaining what he stressed as a personal opinion, Rabbi Toledano urged lowering of the marriage age for girls because of “social, climatic, traditional and practical reasons.” He said the minimum age in England is 16, in France 15 and even 14 in Italy.

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