Police prevent ultra-Orthodox marriage of 14-year-old bride in Jerusalem

Parents of girl who was set to marry 24-year-old man arrested, daughter transferred to custody of welfare authorities; mother insists child was mature enough

The Times of Israel/December 17, 2020

Police prevented a Haredi wedding of a 14-year-old girl to a 24-year-old man in Jerusalem, at the last minute.

The ceremony had been slated to take place last week, Channel 12 said Thursday, reporting that police were tipped off shortly beforehand and arrested the girl’s parents.
They have since been released to house arrest, but the child has been placed in the custody of welfare services.

In a recorded phone conversation with Channel 12, the girl’s mother insisted that she was not aware Israeli law bars marriages of children under the age of 18, and insisted there was nothing wrong with the arrangement.

“I didn’t know this was like a person stealing or murdering or that it is something that harms anyone,” the woman claimed. “I know a lot of girls who get married at the age of 15. It happens a lot [in our community]. There are a lot of girls who are ready for it.”

She lamented that relationships between teenagers in the “secular world” are deemed legitimate, while the marriage of children in Haredi communities are not. The mother went on to demand that authorities return her daughter home.

The mother’s defense attorney Hila Yehezkel told Channel 12 that “now that the parents have been told the minor’s marriage would have been illegal, they have understood this.”

Meanwhile, police were probing whether the planned marriage was part of a widespread phenomenon or an isolated incident.

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