Gay conversion therapy works and I've given it, says Israeli education minister

Benjamin Netanyahu

Benjamin Netanyahu

The No. 3 candidate on the Blue and White party list, speaking Sunday on Channel 13, was reacting to Education Minister Rafi Peretz's statement the previous night in favor of conversion therapy for gays.

Doctors say the technique, which tries to change someone's sexual orientation through psychological and spiritual means and even electro shocks, is scientifically dubious and possibly unsafe. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his gay comments are "unacceptable", but didn't mention the Palestinian aspect.

"I think that it is possible", he responded, and went on to say that he had been involved in giving conversion therapy.

In 2014, the Health Ministry stated that there was no scientific evidence that gay conversion therapy, which includes counseling and even electro-shock therapy, is effective.

The education minister also said he wants to extend Israeli sovereignty to the Palestinian West Bank, which he referred to by the Biblical name of Judea and Samaria, adding that he would secure Palestinian rights, but that they "wouldn't be able to interfere politically" and "of course they will not be able to vote." .

Amir Ohana, the justice minister, who is openly gay, said: "Sexual orientation does not require therapy nor conversion".

Benny Gantz, head of the Blue and White party, the main opposition, said: "Any statements about conversion therapy can not be legitimate in Israel in 2019".

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"I said that first of all I love and respect every person as they are, I emphasized that I do not grade anyone", wrote Peretz.

"First of all, I embraced him". I said very warm things to him.

He added that the attacks against him demonstrated that "it seems that not even the education minister can think differently, [and] that there is only one camp which flies the flag of free speech". Let's study. And let's contemplate'.

He later tried to clarify his comments, saying he did not mean gay children must be sent to conversion therapy, the Jerusalem Post reported.

Peretz is a former chief rabbi of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and is the current leader of the Habait Hayehudi (Jewish Home) party.

"Nitzan Horowitz, who leads the left-wing Meretz party, said "gay conversion therapy" was a risky practice which causes extremely severe circumstances for youths, including suicide".

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