Israel Makes History By Banning Gay-Conversion Therapy While Ultra-Jewish Groups Express Anger At The Move

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Israel Makes History By Banning Gay-Conversion Therapy While Ultra-Jewish Groups Express Anger At The Move

Photo credits: Reuters


Israel has become the latest country in the world to ban 'gay conversion therapy', after Members of Parliament in the country's Knesset voted to make the practice illegal. It is the first country in the Middle East to ban gay conversion therapy and is the only country in the region to have a positive record when it comes to LGBT issues. Homosexuality remains illegal in most Middle Eastern countries and is punishable by death in some. The move banning gay conversion therapy has however sparked a backlash from ultra-Orthodox Jewish groups and some conservatives.


Gay conversion therapy is a practice whereby organisations attempt to convert people from being gay or bisexual into heterosexuals through a variety of different means, ranging from psychotherapy to religious intervention. These practices are widely believed to be ineffective and immoral. There is near consensus among academics that people can not be forced or coerced into changing or adapting their sexuality and that such activities are highly dangerous for a person's mental-health and wellbeing.


Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz, welcomed the vote in parliament, saying:


"Conversion therapy was born in sin and its place is outside of the law and the public norm. We will make sure that everyone, from every background and sexual orientation in Israel, has free choice and security over their identity."


The ultra-Orthodox political party United Torah Judaism (UTJ) had attempted to scupper the bill with amendments but failed to stop the bill passing. It is one of a range of groups in Israel who believe that homosexuality goes not only against Judaism but against the founding religious principles of the state of Israel.


Last year, the previous Education Minister, Rafi Peretz, sparked an outcry when he appeared to condone gay conversion therapy. In an interview he was asked what he would do if one of his children had turned out to be homosexual. He told Jerusalem Post:


"Thank God my children grew up naturally and healthily."


The comments sparked a wave of discussion within Israeli society regarding gay-rights and how someone with such views had risen to the highest levels of power.


While praise for the move is strong, some have claimed that Israel is involved in a pink-washing exercise. Many suggest that while Israel shows to the world its inclusive and liberal credentials, it is violating, at the same time, international law in regards to its actions in Palestine.

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Thinking Humanity: Israel Makes History By Banning Gay-Conversion Therapy While Ultra-Jewish Groups Express Anger At The Move
Israel Makes History By Banning Gay-Conversion Therapy While Ultra-Jewish Groups Express Anger At The Move
Israel has become the latest country in the world to ban 'gay conversion therapy', after Members of Parliament in the country's Knesset voted to make the practice illegal. It is the first country in the Middle East to ban gay conversion therapy and is the only country in the region to have a positive record when it comes to LGBT issues. Homosexuality remains illegal in most Middle Eastern countries and is punishable by death in some. The move banning gay conversion therapy has however sparked a backlash from ultra-Orthodox Jewish groups and some conservatives.
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