Google Israel will promote results on its search engine that educate about the dangers of gay conversion therapy after it was revealed that Israelis have searched for the term more than any other nation.
The tech giant joined hands with some of Israel’s most prominent LGBT rights groups to launch an awareness campaign about the risks involved in the practice — which aim to "correct” a person's sexuality — and will direct curious users to results related to relevant charities and organizations first.
Google’s data showed that Israeli online users were particularly interested in learning about the treatment's legal status in the country and costs.
Israel’s Psychiatric Association and Psychological Association, as well as other professional bodies worldwide, oppose the treatment and deem it ineffective. It is also said to cause mental harm, clinical depression and suicidal tendencies in some patients that may lead to suicide.
The countries that searched most frequently for the term after Israel are Costa Rica, New Zealand, Canada and the United States.
Meanwhile, Havruta — an organization of religiously inclined Jewish LGBT people — teamed up with the Tel Aviv Municipality to launch a center for combating conversion therapy that would also seek the outright banning of the practice in Israel.
Havruta director Netanel Shaler said that the center wishes to provide a healthy and ethical alternative to conversion therapies, pooling resources from Israel's LGBT community to "focus efforts to stop dangerous conversion practices.”
"'Conversion therapy' is mental and physical abuse under the guise of mental therapy," said Nurit Shine, chairwoman of the LGBT rights non-profit The Aguda. “It is abundantly clear that a law barring this abuse is a matter of life and death. This position has been adopted as legislation in dozens of countries around the world and we will continue to fight until Israel bans this abuse as well."
CEO of Google Israel Barak Regev said that the company has always been an ally of the LGBT community in Israel and around the world and hoped the project could save lives.