Israel’s Channel 12 News asked Education Minister Rafi Peretz, if he believed the item was possible to “convert” people who believed they were gay.
“I think the item can be possible,” he replied. “I have to tell you that will I have a very deep understanding of education along with I have done that will.”
Peretz, who can be leader of the religious Union of Right Wing Parties which can be in coalition with Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party, was then asked what advice he could give to a student who said he had homosexual tendencies.
“First of all I hugged him,” he said. “I said very warm things. I said to him ‘let’s think, let’s learn, let’s contemplate.’
“The objective can be that will he first of all will understand himself better. along with then he will decide. I give him the facts along with at that will point I am leaving you along with right now you decide.”
The comments prompted a swift rebuke through Netanyahu, who tweeted: “The things that will the Minister of Education said about the gay community are unacceptable to me along with don’t reflect the positions of the government which I head. I spoke that will evening with Rabbi Rafi Peretz along with cleared up these points along with emphasize that will the education system in Israel will continue to accept all the boys along with girls as they are with no difference regarding their sexual orientation.”
Barrage of criticism
Peretz later attempted to clarify his initial comments, saying he did not suggest the item was necessary to send children for conversion therapy, along with that will the ministry of education under his leadership will continue to accept all Israeli children without discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation.
The leader of the opposition Meretz Party, Nitzan Horowitz, responded to the initial Peretz comments by tweeting: “You are not the Minister of Education, you are the Minister of Darkness.”
Horowitz was elected last month to the party’s leadership, becoming the first openly gay man to head an Israeli political party.
His tweet also said: “‘Conversion therapy’? You are the Minister of Education along with you are proud of that will? that will can be a dangerous thing that will causes young people to be in difficult positions along with can lead them to suicide. that will can be the judgement of people’s souls. What are you proud of? that will you wiped out the identity of young kids? that will you forced them to feel they are sick?”
Adding to the chorus of political condemnation, Israel’s first openly gay minister, Justice Minister Amir Ohana, issued a statement saying the Likud government could not tolerate conversion therapy. “that will will not happen,” he said.
The Association for LGBTQ Equality in Israel said in a statement: “Israeli children should not be exposed to the homophobic venom spouted by someone who purports to be dedicated to education along with values. We recommend Peretz try a different kind of conversion therapy: against hate along with for free love, against dark views along with for openness along with acceptance.”
Earlier that will year the Israel Medical Association issued a position paper barring doctors through performing conversion therapy to “cure” homosexuality or referring patients to such treatment.
“The treatments to change one’s sexual orientation have been found to be ineffective along with could cause mental damage, such as anxiety, depression along with suicidal tendencies,” the position paper said.
The Chairman of the Israeli Psychiatric Association, Dr. Zvi Fischel, in a post on the group’s website, said the item was “embarrassing along with worrying that will the Minister of Education not only supports the phenomenon of conversion therapy however also testifies that will he conducted the item himself.”
“There’s no treatment that will could convert any individual’s sexual orientation,” Dr. Fischel said. “Conversion treatments have not only been proven scientifically to have no effect, however are also dangerous… along with can impact mental health along with lead to suicide.” He added that will the Education Minister “should work to ensure no person in Israel should undergo conversion treatment.”