הצבעה חוק המרה במליאה
Ultra-Orthodox boycotting a Knesset plenum vote on barring gay conversion therapy
Photo: Knesset Channel
Furious ultra-Orthodox MKs after Knesset vote on gay conversion therapy

Haredi coalition parties rage as bill outlawing gay conversion passes initial vote

Ultra-Orthodox lawmakers direct ire at Blue & White, Gantz for backing legislation, despite many Likud MKs' absence from vote; UTJ halts cooperation with centrist party, while Shas boycotts Knesset votes indefinitely

Moran Azulay, Kobi Nachshoni |
Published: 07.22.20 , 16:26
The Knesset plenum on Wednesday passed the preliminary vote on a bill outlawing gay conversion therapy in Israel, with the backing of Blue & White, sparking outrage among the Haredi parties in the coalition.
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  • After the vote, which ended with 42 lawmakers voting in favor of the legislation and 36 opposed, ultra-Orthodox MKs directed their criticism at Blue & White and its leader Defense Minister Benny Gantz for backing the bill.
    דיון מליאה הצבעה נגד חוק המרה מליאה כנסת דיון מליאה הצבעה נגד חוק המרה מליאה כנסת
    Furious ultra-Orthodox MKs after Knesset vote on gay conversion therapy
    (Photo: Knesset)
    United Torah Judaism MK Moshe Gafni warned that his party is considering its next steps, and soon after announced after that UTJ would no longer cooperate with Blue & White, and urged other ultra-Orthodox lawmakers to follow suit.
    Housing Minister and UTJ co-leader Yaakov Litzman lambasted Blue & White's "rotten conduct against coalition discipline" and called it "a challenge to the political partnership between them."
    הצבעה חוק המרה במליאההצבעה חוק המרה במליאה
    Ultra-Orthodox boycotting a Knesset plenum vote on barring gay conversion therapy
    (Photo: Knesset Channel)
    Shas announced it will not take part in plenum votes until further notice.
    Likud minister Dudi Amsalem said that Blue & White's behavior puts the coalition in jeopardy and may send Israel into another round of elections.
    The new law would strip psychologists using gay conversion therapy of their medical licenses. Repeat offenders will be fined and sentence to jail time.
    Blue & White and Labor announced their support for the bill shortly before the vote, with Gantz tweeting, "We promised and we followed through."
    He wrote: "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."
    Likud Public Security Minister Amir Ohana, who is openly gay, was the only member of his party to vote in support of the bill. Many Likud lawmakers were absent from the vote.
    המליאה דנה באישור לקריאה שנייה ושלישית את התיקון לחוק יסודהמליאה דנה באישור לקריאה שנייה ושלישית את התיקון לחוק יסוד
    Meretz leader Nitzan Horowitz
    (Photo: Knesset Channel)
    Meretz leader Nitzan Horowitz, who promoted the law, said that the results of the vote were "amazing news for the Israeli public and the LGBTQ+ community as a whole."
    "Today, a historic change is beginning in Israel," said the openly gay Horowitz.
    "I thank the MKs who voted in support of freedom and equality and stop the horror of conversion therapy."
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