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The wedding of a 14-year-old girl to a man in his twenties was stopped moments before the ceremony was due to begin by police in the Israeli city of Lod.
Officers arrested the father of the bride, a rabbi in the Breslov Hasidic community, who had planned to carry out the wedding himself. The groom was also detained.
The pair were later released on conditional house arrest, according to The Times of Israel.
While those unused to these Talmudic discussions might be taken aback by the use of euphemisms, the discussion here relates to the dowry for virgins and non-virgins. It has nothing to do with what acts are allowed, encouraged, forbidden, or discouraged. It is, indeed, ironic that this passage has been manipulated from its original context of a financial discussion into one of a religious discussion. While there are numerous talmudic passages of a religious nature, this one discusses dowries and not forbidden and permitted relations!
The Talmud relates that a virgin is entitled a higher dowry. While the tell-tale sign of virginity is the release of blood due to the breaking of the hymen on the wedding night, there are occasions when the hymen has already been broken such as when the woman suffered an injury. The Talmud here quotes Rav Yehuda in the name of Rav that a sexual act with a male minor is not considered to be a loss of virginity because one of the participants is not fully active. While the female's hymen may have been broken, she has not engaged in what can be classified as a sexual act (although it is certainly child abuse).
The Talmud continues and quotes Rava as saying that a sexual act between a male adult and a female under the age of three is also not considered a loss of virginity (although it is child abuse). Since the girl is too young for her hymen to be broken, she is still considered a virgin.
Nowhere is the Talmud permitting such behavior. Sex outside of a marriage is strictly forbidden (Maimonides, Mishneh Torah, Hilchot Ishut 1:4, Hilchot Na'arah Betulah 2:17; Shulchan Aruch, Even HaEzer 26:1, 177:5) as is this obvious case of child abuse. The Talmud is only discussing ex post facto what would happen if such a case arose.
“A girl who is three years and one day old whose father arranged her betrothal can be betrothed with intercourse, as, despite her age, the legal status of intercourse with her is that of full-fledged intercourse. And in a case where the childless husband of a girl three years and one day old dies, if his yavam (brother) engages in intercourse with her, he acquires her as his wife...as despite her age she is legally considered to be a married woman.”
When sex offenders move to other countries, there is no international procedure in place for how to monitor or supervise them in their new country. However, international visa requirements make it difficult for nonresidents to live long-term in a new country. Israel is a particularly attractive destination for sex offenders, because the Law of Return allows all Jews to receive citizenship in a very short period of time.
In another, related issue, alleged pedophiles — suspected but not formally charged with any crime — sometimes flee to Israel before authorities get involved. In close-knit Jewish communities, especially among the ultra-Orthodox, a distrust of authorities and tradition of keeping problems “within the community” means that allegations of abuse can arise well before victims notify law enforcement. This gives the purported pedophiles ample time to flee to Israel and apply for aliyah.
If there are no ongoing legal cases against them at the time of their application, they are approved for citizenship in Israel. Even if the authorities in their home countries do move to press charges after the aliyah process is completed, Israel is often reluctant to extradite citizens, meaning the perpetrator can continue to live in Israel and move about freely.