Israel’s newly appointed Education Minister, Rafi Peretz has said he not only supports the practice of “gay conversion therapy” but has successfully applied it.
Gay Conversion Therapy, often referred to as “pray the gay away” or reparative therapy, has been condemned by all major reputable medical and psychological associations including the American Psychiatric Association, the US Surgeon General, the European Parliament, The Canadian Psychiatric Association and Britain’s Royal College Of General Practitioners, and the UK Council For Psychotherapy.
Critics say that the practice is “pseudo-science” and does not work. Its implementation has been shown to be damaging and has led, in many cases, to instances of self-harm and successful suicide.
But in a television interview on Saturday, Mr Peretz said, “I think it is possible to convert. I can tell you I have a deep familiarity on the issue and have done this.”
When asked to describe his experience applying the therapy he 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.”
Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Mr Netanyahu, joined a chorus of global condemnation of Mr Peretz’ comments, saying, “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.”
Aguda, an Israeli LGBT activist organisation has called on Mr Peretz to resign, but Mr Netanyahu did go so far as to suggest he would replace Mr Peretz as Education Minister.
The damaging effects of the therapy are depicted in two 2018 feature films, Boy Erased and The Miseducation Of Cameron Post.