Left Menu
Development News Edition

Gay "conversion therapy" gets Israeli education minister's backing

Reuters | Jerusalem | Updated: 14-07-2019 07:31 IST | Created: 14-07-2019 01:35 IST
Gay "conversion therapy" gets Israeli education minister's backing
Image Credit: Pxhere

Israel's education minister voiced support on Saturday for so-called gay "conversion therapy", drawing a disavowal from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose government's religious-rightist tilt has worried liberals a home and backers abroad.

Conversion therapy, an attempt to alter sexual orientation or gender identity through psychological, spiritual and, in extreme cases, physical means, has been widely discredited in the West and condemned by professional health associations such as the American Medical Association as potentially harmful. Rafael Peretz, an Orthodox rabbi and head of the ultranationalist United Right party who assumed the education portfolio in the Netanyahu-led coalition last month, said in a television interview he believed conversion therapy can work.

"I have a very deep familiarity with the issue of education, and I have also done this," he told Israel's Channel 12 TV. Giving an example of a gay person he said he had tended to, Peretz said: "First of all, I embraced him. I said very warm things to him. I told him, 'Let's think. Let's study. And let's contemplate.' The objective is first of all for him to know himself well ... and then he will decide."

The remarks sparked furor in Israel's center-left opposition, which ahead of a September election has sought to cast Netanyahu as enabling Orthodox indoctrination in a country whose majority Jews mostly identify as secular or of less stringent religious observance. Israel's LGBT Task Force, an advocacy group, demanded Peretz be fired, saying in a statement his views were "benighted".

Shortly after the interview aired at the end of the Jewish Sabbath, Netanyahu said he spoke to Peretz for "clarification". "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.

It was the second flap Peretz had caused in less than a week after Israeli media reported that he had told fellow Cabinet members on Tuesday that the intermarriage of Jews and Gentiles in the Diaspora amounted to a "second Holocaust". The comparison stirred up anger among U.S. Jews, who are mostly non-Orthodox, and drew a rebuke from the Anti-Defamation League, which said such statements cheapened the Holocaust.

Speaking to Channel 12, Peretz described himself as striving to balance respect for others, no matter their sexual orientation, with his duties as a religious leader. "I honor everyone as people. I admit that I, personally - I am a rabbi of Israel. Our Torah tells us other things. But that does not mean that I look about now and give them grades," he said.


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

How UK’s 'best prepared' healthcare system failed to gauge COVID-19

The UK is proud of their public health system and its unlike any other country as around 90 percent of British public supports the founding principles of National Health Service. But without accurate data being available to stakeholders in ...

Poor on IHR capacity progress in 2019, WHO says Cambodia tops COVID-19 response

Despite being in proximity to Hubei, the original epicenter of COVID-19 pandemic, Cambodia has reported just 226 confirmed cases and zero deaths. After seeing the data, WHO appreciated Cambodias healthcare information system but experts dou...

Loopholes in Healthcare Information System may have failed Singapore COVID-19 model

In the initial days of the COVID-19 outbreak, Singapore was in the limelight for its effective healthcare system and pandemic response plan. However, Singapore has now joined the list of the worst-hit nations and the situation is even worse...

Australia's COVID-19 response: Digital infrastructure of help but implementation remains a challenge

Australias ongoing plans to upgrade its health information system helped by the Digital Health Strategy seem even more practical due to the pandemic. But as evident during the pandemic, administrative lapses and the complex matrix of power ...

Videos

Latest News

Himachal's Covid count surges to 2,831

Himachal Pradeshs count of COVID-19 cases now stands at 2,831 cases, the states health department said on Tuesday. The total number of cases includes 1,126 active cases and 1,665 recoveries. So far, 12 people have succumbed to the virus.Ind...

Indian-origin woman researcher killed while jogging in US

A 43-year-old Indian-origin woman researcher in the US was killed while she was out jogging in Plano, a suburb near Dallas, and police have initiated a homicide investigation, according to media reports. According to the police, Sarmistha S...

Panchshil Realty's office portfolio first in APAC to meet British Safety Council's global benchmarks for COVID-19 related control measures

Pune Maharashtra India Aug 4 ANIPRNewswire Panchshil Realty and British Safety Council today announced a new milestone in workplace safety in the corporate real estate sector in India in the context of COVID-19 and safe return to work. Panc...

Bihar govt can't transfer Sushant Singh Rajput death case to CBI, says Rhea's lawyer

Bihar government cannot transfer the case related to the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput to the Central Bureau of Investigation CBI as it does not have jurisdiction in the matter, Rhea Chakrabortys lawyer said on Tuesday. There cannot b...

Give Feedback