Jews of Israel - Marriage and Family



Marriage. The median age of marriage in 1986 for Jewish men was 26.4, for women 23.1. (Many men defer marriage until after their mandatory service in the Israel Defense Forces.) The age is considerably younger among ultra-Orthodox Jews, who are effectively exempted from army service, and for whom the biblical injunction to "be fruitful and multiply" is very important.

Domestic Unit. The nuclear family is the main domestic unit. The average family size is 4.7 among Jews of Oriental origin, versus 2.8 for Ashkenazim.

Inheritance. Inheritance, like all matters of personal-status law in Israel, falls for Jews under the jurisdiction of rabbinical courts that apply (sometimes controversially) rabbinic law


Socialization. Education in Israel is free and compulsory through tenth grade, tuition in high school (since reforms in 1984) has been set at about U.S.$10 monthly. Preschool is available to children between ages 3 and 6 and (given the high percentage of working women) is widely used. Education is sharply divided into three separate tracts: state-supported secular schools (about 72 percent of primary-school students), state-supported religious systems (about 22 percent), and a number of traditional, private religious schools (the yeshivas, or Talmudic academies) that cater to the ultra-Orthodox. These enroll about 6 percent of primary-school students. For the vast majority of Israel's Jews, service in the Israeli army is a crucial part of their transition to adulthood.

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