MK Walid Taha (joint list) said this morning (Sunday) that the LGBT community is “almost non-existent” in Arab society in Israel. Taha, who voted with the Likud against the bill banning conversion therapies approved by the Knesset in a preliminary reading last week, said in an interview here Monday that such therapies are intended to return gays to a “normal state.”
“The vast majority of Arab society of all denominations and religions opposes these laws,” Taha said on the Kalman-Lieberman program about his opposition to the bills. “It has a religious, cultural, ethical and moral administration that does not accept this thing as a legitimate thing and that is why we voted against this law.”
On the LGBT community he said: “This issue, even if it exists within Arab society, and I guess it exists somewhere, it exists in very small dimensions and those who suffer from it are not even in a hurry to identify, because in society they do not take it for granted. Yes, the gay phenomenon is almost non-existent in Arab society. “
A member of the Ra’am faction argued that the ban on conversion therapies would prevent gays from returning to what he called a “normal state,” and that he was unaware of such unsuccessful treatments. “Man was created in the image of God as male and female. “If there is something that does not align with creation, that person needs to be treated,” Taha said.
On Wednesday, the Knesset approved in a preliminary reading two bills prohibiting psychologists from performing conversion therapies for LGBT people. Blue and White members and Labor supported the law, contrary to the Likud’s position and in violation of coalition discipline. “They define conversion therapy as a criminal offense, which carries a penalty of one year in prison. In addition, the license of a psychologist who performs such treatments will be revoked for five years.”
One of the proposals was approved by a majority of 42 MKs compared to 36, and the other by a majority of 43 to 35. Minister Amir Ohana and MK Michal Shir of the Likud supported the proposals, while 21 of the 36 Likud MKs were absent from the vote. Ministers Itzik Shmuli and Amir were also present. Peretz supported the law. Three members of the Hadash faction – Chairman Ayman Odeh, Aida Toma-Suleiman and Ofer Kasif – voted in favor of the proposal, after it was made clear to them that it does not refer to clerics. D. and Ta’al and two MKs from Hadash were absent from the vote.