In 2013, Israel raised the minimum age for marriage from 17 to 18, however in this case, the bride had just turned 14.
The wedding was to take place on Tuesday night in the banquet hall in the city of Lod. The guests had already arrived, the tables were laid out and the orchestra began to play, but the police stopped the event at the last minute after discovering that the bride was a 14-year-old minor.
A news reporter from Channel 2 in Israel used a hidden video to document the wedding from inside the wedding hall. The rabbi of the community who was supposed to perform the wedding ceremony is also said to be the father of the bride.
Reports say that a prospective guest notified the city’s welfare authorities about the unusual wedding, which is a considered to be a serious criminal offense. That information was transmitted to the police. Police detained the father of the bride and the groom only moments before he was about to walk down to the chuppah.
The father of the bride and the groom were released to house arrest and other restrictive conditions, but a senior official in the welfare department who is familiar with the case said that authorities do not have an effective way to ensure that the religious ceremony will not be held covertly in a few days or weeks.
A 2016 report by the Knesset’s Law and Justice Committee found that 716 underage marriages occurred in Israel in 2014/15. Of these 517 were Muslim weddings performed under sharia law, the rest were weddings in Jerusalem’s ulta-Orthodox community.