KEY POINTS

  • The government of Israel is looking to scrap “conversion therapy” by introducing a new bill
  • The bill has been sent to the ministerial committee, so it could become more "moderate"  
  • If the bill is passed, Israel will join the countries that have already banned the controversial therapy

The government of Israel is looking to ban the practice of “conversion therapy” by introducing a new bill in the legislative assembly.  

However, according to Haaretz, the ministerial committee is set to delay the bill because of the ultra-Orthodox parties. The publication suggested that the committee will now “examine” the bill once again to make it more “moderate” so that the ultra-Orthodox parties won’t oppose it.

A source close to the government told the media outlet that the fact a bill like this is being considered in the assembly is an achievement for the government.

If the bill is adopted in the assembly, it would ban “conversion therapy” and all the professionals who practice it. The legislation would also give authorities the power to send the therapists to jail and revoke their license. 

Conversion therapy is a pseudoscientific practice that seeks to change someone’s sexual orientation from homosexual or bisexual to heterosexual using psychological and spiritual interventions.

 The controversial practice is widely criticized by experts because there is no visible evidence that therapy can change an individual’s sexual orientation.  

The bill has been put forward by Nitzan Horowitz, chairman of Meretz, who believes that conversion therapy is like committing “murder.” He further stated that the therapy results in “self-harm” and can take an individual to a point where he or she could have suicidal thoughts.

“Conversion therapy. It is a murder of the soul and often times the body too. These procedures result in self-harm to the point of suicide. What therapy means here is mental and physical abuse of teenagers,” Horowitz said.

Horowitz also explained that it is an opportunity for everyone to tell people that the leaders should not change the LGBTQ members.

“It is our legal and moral duty to save the next victims of conversion therapy. It's an opportunity for the Knesset to give a clear message ‒ it doesn't matter if you're straight, gay, lesbian, or trans, we don't want to change you. You are beautiful and whole just as you are,” Horowitz said.

If the bill is passed, Israel will join the list of countries that have already banned the controversial therapy. Australia, Brazil, China, Ecuador, South Africa, Spain, Taiwan, United States, Germany, and Malta have already banned conversion therapy.