Several schools around the country held impromptu tolerance classes on Sunday after the education minister angered members of the country's LGBT community by implying that homosexuality was unnatural.
In an interview published on the weekend edition of Ynet's sister publication Yedioth Ahronoth, Rafi Peretz was asked what he would do if one his children had a "different sexual orientation".
"Thank God, my children grew up in a natural and healthy way," Peretz responded. "They are building their homes based on Jewish values. I don't bother my head with 'what if' thinking."
Peretz, who heads the ultra-nationalist Jewish Home party, assumed the education portfolio within Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's conservative coalition government in June.
Several municipalities decided on Saturday to hold short classes, educating students on LGBT issues, in response to the contentious comments.
Tel Aviv Municipality - together with the city's LGBT activist groups – published a transcript of a 15-minute-long tolerance course on LGBT families to be taught to students on Sunday morning.
During the class, teachers will ask the students if they ever came across non-heterosexual families, what other types of families do they know and why "there are those who speak badly" about same-sex families?
"Families have many different forms," said the official transcript. "The number of parents or their gender identity does not affect our happiness and does not determine whether the family is good or not. What affects us is how we feel about our home and our parents."
"You cannot ignore the blatant remarks made by the minister, who thinks he has a god-given qualification to decide what is natural and what is normative," said in a statement Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai. "There is no choice but to fight for our values and principles as a democratic society, where the citizen has the right to learn, know and decide what is normative and what is natural. "
The furor over Peretz's remarks - who last year spoke favorably about gay "conversion therapy" - reached into the cabinet, one of whose members is openly homosexual.
Likud Justice Minister Amir Ohana, who has children with a same-sex partner, condemned his cabinet colleague's remarks as "wretched, and not for the first time," adding that they "do not reflect the government's position".
"I grew up in a healthy, good and loving family, as are my children and the children of many LGBT members from all parts of the country, from all over the political spectrum," Ohana tweeted.
First published: 13:51 , 01.12.20