Thursday, 22 Aug 2019 - 21 of Av, 5779

Luxembourg Prime Minister shuns Israeli embassy dinner event to protest Minister Peretz’ comments on conversion therapy for homosexuals

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Xavier Bettel is considered a friend of Israel and has visited the Jewish state twice in recent years. In 2016, he even became the first Luxembourg Prime Minister to visit Israel.

LUXEMBOURG—Luxembourg’s Prime Minister Xavier Bettel has boycotted a dinner event organized by the Israeli embassy, to protest Israel’s Education Minister Rafi Peretz’s apparent backing for conversion therapy aimed at “curing” homosexuals of their sexual orientation, according to a report by Channel 12 television.

The minister’s remarks to Channel 12 television drew widespread criticism from the public and lawmakers across the political spectrum in Israel, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who stated : “The remarks by the Education Mminister regarding the gay community are unacceptable to me and do not reflect the position of the government under my leadership.

But Luxembourg’s Prime Minister,  who is gay, decided e not to attend a farewell dinner for Israel’s Ambassador to Belgium and Luxembourg Simona Frankel. reported Monday.

According to the report, Bettel informed Frankel that, while he respects her personally, he would not be able to attend an official Israeli event as long as a government minister openly supports gay conversion therapy.

Bettel is considered a friend of Israel and has visited the Jewish state twice in recent years.
In 2016, he even became the first Luxembourg Prime Minister to visit Israel.

On Sunday, Rafi Peretz, a former IDF chief rabbi, defended his remarks regarding gay conversion therapy, saying they had been misunderstood and misrepresented in a “cynical” way which “further deepens the rift in Israeli society.”

The minister responded in a long Facebook post to criticism over his remarks. ‘’ “When I was specifically asked about conversion therapy, I said from my own experience only that when students contacted me and asked for guidance I referred them to professionals at their request and saw it was possible. I did not say I support conversion therapy.’’

“I believe that most of those who heard about the interview did not watch it. The responses distorted my words, using cheap populism that further deepens the rift in Israeli society, and I am pained by that,” he added.

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