Proposed law will criminalize sex under 16
Zvika Brott, Yediot, May 26 2010 [Hebrew original here and at bottom of post]
There is no adolescent who doesn’t wonder about the question when his “first time” will be. A new initiative in the Knesset seeks to put an end to this deliberation, and simply decide for Israeli teenagers: You cannot have sexual relations before age 16.
The “abstinence bill” initiated by Deputy Knesset Speaker MK Carmel Shama (Likud) aims to toughen the currently existing law in Israel, which forbids having sexual relations before age 14. It states that sexual relations under age 16 will be forbidden, even among partners of the same age. “The lower the age that people begin to have sexual relations, the greater the physiological and psychological risks it entails,” MK Shama writes in the bill. “The age currently determined by law is too low, we must not forget that we are talking about children.”
It should be noted that the model proposed by Shama is in force in many countries around the world such as the US, Canada, Britain, Holland, Norway and Finland. However, there are also many countries that follow the rules that apply in Israel, including Spain, Hungary, Moldova, Croatia, Chile and Albania.
The bill does not specify the penalty that will be imposed on minors who have sexual relations beneath the permitted age, but it states that this will be proportional and coordinated with the welfare authorities.
The “abstinence bill” is important to MK Shama not only as a parliamentarian but also as a concerned parent. “Last week, my eldest son turned 14. I am horrified by the thought that he and his friends will have sex at this age, and with the consent of the State of Israel’s law book,” he explains. “There is no intention to go into the teenagers’ bedrooms, and certainly not to punish, but rather to convey the message that this is forbidden and has dangers. In the world of online acquaintance and liberal norms of partying and drinking, there are grounds for guiding intervention by the state.”
The bill enjoys the support of many MKs from the coalition and opposition, and it will be officially submitted to the Knesset secretariat this morning.