Israel education minister defends 'gay conversion therapy'

Israel education minister defends 'gay conversion therapy'

Israeli Education Minister Rafi Peretz has said he believes so-known as "gratified conversion remedy" can work, triggering well-liked condemnation.

"I think you can", he said.

Rafi Peretz, who leads a small religious nationalist party, said in a televised interview over the weekend that he supports conversion therapy and has performed it.

Last week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the appointment of the country's first openly gay cabinet minister, Justice Minister Amir Ohana.

Multiple sources have called for his dismissal.

Following the outcry, Peretz later said his words had been distorted.

The prime minister brought Peretz's Union of Right Wing Parties into his coalition after 9 April elections in an effort to form a majority government. He added that he had "a very deep familiarity with the issue".

"I trust it is imaginable", Mr Peretz, an Orthodox rabbi, commended Israel's Channel 12 TV channel.

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Peretz said that for someone who is gay, the goal is "that first of all he gets to know himself better and then he can decide". "I spoke this evening with Rabbi Rafi Peretz, and made it clear to him that the Israeli educational system will continue to accept all Jewish children whoever they are and without any difference based on sexual orientation".

Peretz later attempted to clarify his initial comments, saying he did not suggest it was necessary to send children for conversion therapy, and that the ministry of education under his leadership will continue to accept all Israeli children without discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation.

In a televised interview over the weekend, Peretz said he supports conversation therapy and has performed it. Health officials have said the technique is scientifically dubious and possibly even risky.

"The education minister's remarks regarding the pride community are unacceptable to me and do not reflect the position of the government that I head", the premier said in a statement.

Demonstrators at the Tel Aviv protest carried signs calling him a "homophobic racist". Onan slammed Peretz's comments by saying; "Serious psychiatric researchers have united around the stance that not only is there no need to "convert" someone's sexual orientation, but the process is also harmful and could cause youths pain and suffering to the point of suicide".

Around 250,000 people took part in Tel Aviv's pride parade on Friday, making it far and away the biggest LGBT+ event in the Middle East. Participants wound their way through downtown Tel Aviv to the beachfront to see 2018 Eurovision Song Contest victor Netta Barzilai perform.

"We have all earned the right to raise our voices, to come here and say that after the long journey we have travelled, there is still much to do", Mayor of Tel Aviv Ron Huldai told the crowd.

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