מצעד הגאווה של תל אביב 2019
The 2019 Tel Aviv Pride Parade
Photo: Yair Sagi
The 2019 Tel Aviv Pride Parade

Bill banning gay conversion therapy to proceed in Knesset

Proposed legislation would strip psychologists using controversial method of licenses, repeat offenders fined and/or sentenced to jail time; resuming procedure is expected to fuel already tense coalition relations between Haredi and secular parties

Moran Azulay |
Published: 10.28.20 , 17:01
Likud legislator Haim Katz said Wednesday that he would advance a bill banning LGBTQ conversion therapy after it had passed a preliminary reading in the Knesset earlier this summer.
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  • Katz said he initially kept the bill from being discussed in the Knesset Labor, Welfare and Health Committee which he chairs, because he hoped to first reach a consensus among lawmakers but that had not come to pass.
    מצעד הגאווה של תל אביב 2019מצעד הגאווה של תל אביב 2019
    The 2019 Tel Aviv Pride Parade
    (Photo: Yair Sagi)
    Katz himself is facing criminal indictment for tax evasion and could be removed from his parliamentary seat.
    The resumption of the legislation process will likely add to an already tense situation between the ultra-Orthodox community and the majority secular Israeli public, after Haredi communities actively rejected government mitigation efforts to slow the spread of coronavirus despite unusually high morbidity found in their schools, religious institutions and localities.
    חיים כץחיים כץ
    Likud MK Haim Katz addressing the Knesset earlier this year
    (Photo: Alex Kolomoisky)
    The row was compounded by what some in the ultra-Orthodox sector saw as being unfairly singled out by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government while localities run by his Likud supporters were spared the strict mitigation imposed on predominately Haredi cities and neighborhoods.
    The bill, which was tabled by Meretz Party leader Nitzan Horowitz and Labor MK Merav Michaeli, would strip psychologists using gay conversion therapy of their medical licenses. Repeat offenders would be fined and/or sentenced to jail time.
    הצבעה חוק המרה במליאההצבעה חוק המרה במליאה
    Ultra-Orthodox lawmakers during the Knesset preliminary vote on a bill banning gay conversion therapy
    (Photo: The Knesset Channel)
    In the July vote, which ended with 42 lawmakers voting in favor and 36 against, ultra-Orthodox MKs directed their criticism at Blue & White and its leader Defense Minister Benny Gantz for backing the bill in violation of the coalition agreement they had signed with Likud just two months earlier.
    United Torah Judaism co-leader Yaakov Litzman lambasted Blue & White's "rotten conduct against coalition discipline" and called it "a challenge to the political partnership between them."
    יעקב ליצמןיעקב ליצמן
    United Torah Judaism co-leader Yaakov Litzman, left, makes his way to the Knesset plenum for a vote on the coalition government in May
    (Photo: Alex Kolomoisky)
    But Gantz responded by saying that, "Conversion therapy was born in sin and its place is outside of the law and the public norm. We will make sure that everyone, from every background and sexual orientation in Israel, has free choice and security over their identity."
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