Israel’s new education minister, Rafi Peretz, has done a sudden about face in the wake of worldwide condemnation of his remarks supporting harmful gay conversion therapy.
Peretz wrote a letter to school principals on Tuesday, The Jerusalem Post reports, in which he said of students confused about their sexual orientation: “I always listened intently to their distress and on occasion recommended they consult with professionals. However, I never gave them a cold shoulder or advised them to do conversion therapy to which I am strongly opposed. I know that conversion therapy is illegitimate and severe. This is my unambiguous position.”
Last week, in an interview with Israel‘s Channel 12, Peretz, endorsed harmful gay conversion therapy for minors. Following the interview’s broadcast, hundreds of protesters in Tel Aviv called on Peretz to resign.
Said Peretz when asked whether it’s possible to “convert” people who believe they’re gay: “I think it is possible. I have to tell you that I have a very deep understanding of this kind of education and I have done this.”
Asked what he would say to a student who said they thought they might be gay, Peretz replied: “First of all I’d hug him. I’d say very warm things. I’d say to him ‘let’s think, let’s learn, let’s contemplate.’ The objective is that he first of all will understand himself better. And then he will decide. I give him the facts and at this point I am leaving you and now you decide.”