Hundreds protest Rafi Peretz's gay conversion therapy comments

Ex-PM Ehud Barak joins LGBT activists at protest against Education Minister Rafi Peretz's support for gay conversion therapy.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

LGBT activists protest against Rafi Peretz in Tel Aviv
LGBT activists protest against Rafi Peretz in Tel Aviv
Tomer Neuberg/Flash90

Several hundred protesters gathered in Tel Aviv Sunday to call for the removal of Education Minister Rabbi Rafi Peretz over his support for gay conversion therapy.

The protest was organized by the LGBT movement, and was attended by former Prime Minister Ehud Barak, who recently launched the new Democratic Israeli party.

Holding posters reading “Resign” and “Ignorant” juxtaposed to Peretz’s face, the roughly 200 protesters urged Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to remove the recently appointed Education Minister, calling Peretz’s recent comments in support of conversion therapy hateful and unacceptable.

“Two days before the last election we sat with you for a very frank conversation in the Prime Minister’s residence in Jerusalem,” LGBT activists wrote in a letter to Netanyahu shortly before the protest.

“You declared in our presence that the Education Ministry would not be given over to LGBT-phobic parties, but would be retained by the Likud.”

“You violated your explicit promise…and now it has blown up in all of our faces. As Prime Minister, you are obliged to not only condemn his words but also Minister Peretz himself. Don’t abandon Israeli children to the ignorance and backward values. Give the Education portfolio to someone who is worthy of it.”

On Saturday, Channel 12 aired an interview with Rabbi Peretz in which the minister said that he believed conversion therapy could be effective in changing the sexual inclinations of gay and lesbians.

"People who have such a tendency can be converted." Peretz said in response to a question by the interviewer, "I think that it's possible, I can tell you that I have a very deep knowledge of education, and I've also done it."

When asked what he would advise a student who told him about his sexual inclinations, Peretz responded: "First of all, I would hug and speak to him warmly. I would tell him, 'Let's think, let's learn, let's look into it.' The goal is that he should first get to know himself well. I would give him the information and he needs to decide."