Smotrich: 'Rabbi Peretz has been lynched'

'I'm not prepared for a reality in which all 'freedom-of-speech seekers' prove that they are in essence thought dictators,' Smotrich said.

Hezki Baruch,

Chairman Smotrich
Chairman Smotrich
Flash 90

Transportation Minister Bezalel Smotrich responded on Sunday evening to the storm caused by the comments of the chairman of the Union of Right-Wing Parties, Education Minister Rabbi Rafi Peretz, regarding conversion treatment.

"Since not expressing my personal opinion can be interpreted as abandoning Rabbi Rafi to the violent media lynch that he has been going through since last night, from this moment on I stand by him," Smotrich wrote on his Twitter account.

"I don't have to agree with his every word for this. I'm simply not prepared for a reality in which all 'freedom-of-speech seekers' again prove that they are in essence thought dictators."

Earlier on Sunday, Rabbi Peretz responded at length to remarks made against him. "Since I entered politics, I have learned that there is truth and there is the world of tweets. There is freedom of speech for statements of one type and freedom of incitement for those who explain another complex position."

"Since last night, I have been attacked from every platform on a lengthy interview (I sat for three hours for the first time in my life in front of a camera of which, in the media world, only ten minutes are used) which caused headlines that don't correspond to reality. I believe that most people who heard the interview being blasted didn't actually watch any of it. These were gut reactions which distorted my words, cheap populism which mainly serves the continuation of the rift in Israeli society and for this, I feel pained."

"I love and respect every person as he or she is. This is the essence of my educational path, this is my approach to life. That is the education I've given to thousands of graduates of the preparatory academy. The combination of a rabbi and a politician doesn't obligate me to hide the truth."

"I was also asked about my relationship with the LGTBQ community. Anyone who wants to hear exactly what I said is invited to watch the interview and see that it is not like what everyone is shouting. I said that first of all, I respect every human being. I emphasized that I was not giving grades to anyone. When I was specifically asked about conversion treatments, I said from my own experience that when I was approached by Religious Zionist students and asked for guidance, I referred them to professionals at their request and saw that it was possible. I did not say that I was in favor of conversion treatments."

"I first gave my students a hug and spoke to them warmly. I also offered to study and look into it together, with the goal that the student opposite me will recognize himself better. From that point, the choice is his own and I respect and love each one regardless of their sexual orientation. Sometimes the most convenient thing is to swim with the stream and scream with everyone. You'll learn that there are other opinions, complex but inclusive. Accepting the other is not the possession of one side. I am not coercive and I do not intend to impose anything on anyone."




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