A high-profile Israeli Orthodox rabbi has issued his support of the education minister who backed conversion therapy for gay people, and even went one step further by suggesting that sex change operations must be out outlawed.
Rafi Peretz caused an uproar on Saturday when he voiced his support for the controversial practice of trying to change an individual's sexual orientation, drawing a disavowal from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose government’s religious-rightist tilt has worried liberals at home and backers abroad.
Chief Rabbi of Safed and a member of the Chief Rabbinate Council Shmuel Eliyahu on Sunday called on the public to “support normality, common sense” and “families consistent of a mother and a father.”
“If you want to live in a normal country where expressing a sane opinion is allowed, you have to hold the education minister’s hand,” Eliyahu, a prominent figure in the religious Zionist movement, wrote on his official Facebook page.
"Even if you are not religious and even if you belong to the LGBTQ community - If you want to live in a country of freedom and brotherhood instead of violence and intimidation - write posts supporting the education minister,” he said on his social media.
He went on to imply that gender reassignment surgery is a type of conversion therapy as well yet it’s deemed acceptable by the society. “If you want to interfere with people’s lives by passing a law against conversion, this is the conversion that should be prohibited by law," he said.
"The LGBTQ people who are protesting against the education minister wish to permit conversions by the means of surgery and steroids, which they want to be funded by the state and the IDF.
“They believe only their opinion is legitimate and it’s forbidden to express a different view. Anyone who expresses an opinion that’s different from theirs should be disqualified from public office, which is why they’re calling for the education minister to be fired,” he added.