GAZA, Palestinian Territory — Hundreds of young men in the Gaza Strip have turned to a small industry of lenders in the coastal territory to help them pay for their weddings, only to fall onto hard times because of crushing debt and a lack of jobs.
Many have tried to renegotiate their debts. Others have gone into hiding and some have ended up in jail.
Saleh Abu Serdanah is one example, describing himself now as a “fugitive crook.”
Wedding lenders have filled an important need in Gaza’s conservative society, where young men and women are typically expected to marry in their late teens or early 20s.
Facing a nearly 60% unemployment rate, many young Gazan men have been forced to put off their dreams of marriage because they cannot afford it.
Fares Akram, The Associated Press