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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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."