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A commemoration event for Jamal Khashoggion 11 November 2018. Five people were sentenced to death for his murder, but two top aides to the powerful crown prince were exonerated. Photograph: Ozan Köse/AFP via Getty Images
A commemoration event for Jamal Khashoggi on 11 November 2018. Five people were sentenced to death for his murder, but two top aides to the powerful crown prince were exonerated. Photograph: Ozan Köse/AFP via Getty Images
ARE the 8 convicted killers of Jamal Khashoggi among those captured on video stills (above) during the infamous operation at the Saudi Consulate in Turkey?
Israel’s new education minister Rafi Peretz said in an interview Saturday that it is “possible” to perform conversion therapy, claiming he has done so in the past.
Netanyahu calls remarks ‘unacceptable,’ says Israel’s schools will accept all students regardless of sexual orientation.
Education Minister and Bayit Yehudi leader Rabbi Rafi Peretz caused a firestorm of protest Saturday night after stating he believes the highly controversial practice of “gay conversion therapy” – trying to change a gay individual’s sexual orientation – is effective.
FILE PHOTO: Israel’s Education Minister Rafi Peretz arrives to attend the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem June 24, 2019. Menahem Kahana/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo Read more at https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/world/israeli-education-minister-favours-gay–conversion-therapy–11718876
Peretz said that he himself has participated in providing such “treatment” to gay individuals in the past and that his approach is for the person in question “to get to know himself better and then decide” on their sexual orientation.
The Health Ministry said in 2014 there was no scientific evidence that gay conversion, which includes counseling and even electro-shock therapy, is effective and said it can cause harm to those exposed to it.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu strongly criticized his education minister for his remarks, and Peretz was assailed by opposition politicians and NGOs many of whom called on the prime minister to fire him.
The chairman of the Israel Association of Psychiatrists underlined in response to the minister’s comments that there is no therapy that can change a person’s sexual orientation.
Speaking during an interview with Channel 12 broadcast Saturday night, Peretz was asked about his attitude LGBTs and specifically his opinion on conversion therapy.
“I think that it is possible to convert [someone’s sexual orientation],” said the education minister when asked about the issue.
“I can tell you that I have deep familiarity on the issue of education, and I have also done it [conversion therapy].”
Asked how he would address an individual who told him he was gay, Peretz said “I would first of all embrace him, then I said let us think, let us learn, let us consider. The goal is that first of all he gets to know himself better and then he can decide.”
Peretz also said in his interview that he would continue the funding for the Israel Gay Youth movement (IGY) but that he could block the group from sending representatives to schools and would have to examine its “messaging” before deciding.
Netanyahu issued a statement saying he had personally spoken with Peretz to convey his criticism.
”The remarks of the Minister of Education regarding the LGBT community are unacceptable and do not reflection the position of the government under my leadership,” said Netanyahu.
“I spoke to Rabbi Rafi Peretz this evening and made it clear to him that the Israeli educational system will continue to accept all Jewish children whoever they are and without any difference based on sexual orientation.”
Meretz leader Nitzan Horowitz said in response that homosexual conversion therapy was a dangerous practice “which causes extremely sever circumstances for youths, including suicide,” saying that the concept was not only irresponsible but endangered people’s lives.
“Rafi Peretz, what are you proud about? That you erased the identity of young men and women? That you caused people to feel that their sexual orientation is a sickness? That they have no place to be who they are and to love who they want?” demanded the Meretz leader.
“You are not fitting to be responsible for the future of our children… I call on Netanyahu to fire Minister Rafi Peretz immediately.”
Chairman of the Association of Psychiatrists in Israel Tzvi Fishel said he was “embarrassed and worried” that Israel’s education minister not only spoke out in favor of conversion therapy but had participated in it as well.
“As the the Israel Medical Association, the Association of Psychiatrists in Israel, and many other doctors associations in Israel and around the world have determined, there is no therapy that can convert the sexual orientation of any person,” said Fishel.
“Conversion therapies that pretend to change sexual orientation have not only be scientifically proven to be ineffective but represent a danger and cause severe damage to the psyche of the individual and feelings of failure which are likely to lead to suicide,” saying that Peretz’s comments endangered lives.
Blue and White co-leader Yair Lapid said in a brief comment on Twitter that “Until Rafi Peretz undergoes conversion therapy for his benighted and crazy opinions he cannot continue to serve as education minister.”
Labor leader Amir Peretz responded that the education minister’s statement was inhumane and that everyone should have a right to love, marry and build a family with whomever they choose.
“In the upcoming election, the people of Israel will convert the Education Ministry out of the hands of the extreme Right,” Peretz said.
The Israel Gay Youth (IGY) movement, which receives funding from the education ministry, said its staff “were in shock” at the minister’s comments but would not be commenting further for the moment.
Peretz later attempted to clarify his controversial statements about gay conversion therapy, saying he did not intend that gay children must be sent to conversion therapy.
“A few clarifications about the interview that was broadcast this evening,” Peretz said.
“1. I did not claim that a child must be sent for conversion therapy.
“2. During my years as an educator, I met with students who felt terrible distress about their sexual orientation and chose to use professionals to change their orientation. What I said in the interview came from my personal experiences with those cases.
“3. The education system in Israel under my leadership will continue to accept all children of Israel as they are, regardless of their sexual orientation. That’s how I made it clear in the interview.”
The comments by Peretz come just a couple days after he had been slammed for comments he made comparing intermarriage to “a second Holocaust.”
“We [have] lost six million Jews in this way [due to assimilation] since the Holocaust,” he said.
“I absolutely condemn the remarks by the education minister concerning conversion therapy,” Justice Minister Amir Ohana said in response to Peretz. Ohana became the first gay minister in the Knesset in June.
“The Likud government, the national-liberal movement won’t give her hand to conversion therapy,” stated Ohana. “The serious studies in the world of psychology are united around the position that not only can they not ‘convert’ the sexual orientation – it’s dangerous and can cause pain and suffering to youth and even lead them to suicide.”
“Education minister, the youth of the entire State of Israel and yes, also of the national-religious sector, are looking to you,” added Ohana. “LGBTQ youth commit suicide three times as often as their percentage of the population. This is a matter of saving lives. Your clarification is important, but not sufficient. Learn the subject in depth, and review it.”
Gil Hoffman and Maayan Hoffman contributed to this report.
Sixteen people including a baby were killed and 21 were wounded by an Israeli attack on multiple Syrian and Iranian targets on the outskirts of Damascus and Homs, Syrian state-run al-Ikhbariya broadcaster reported, citing its correspondent.
Israeli warplanes fired missiles at Syria that targeted Syrian military positions in Homs and Sahnaya, south of Damascus, the Syrian military said on Monday.
“The first assessment is that a Russian-made missile, part of the air defense system, which was part of the air defense system that took place last night in the face of an air strike against Syria, completed its range and fell into our country after it missed,” Turkish Cypriot Foreign Minister Kudret Ozersay said in a social media post.
The object hit a mountainside north of the capital Nicosia.
Syrian air defenses confronted the attack, which was launched from Lebanese airspace, the Syrian defense ministry said in a brief report on its Telegram feed.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 16 people were killed, among them three children and ten Iranian militias and Hezbollah members. The observatory added that the Israeli Navy also took part in the strike, targeting ten Hezbollah bases, including compounds that were used by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.
SANA said the dead included a baby and that other children were among the wounded in Sahnaya. It was unclear whether the civilians were killed in the strike or in the resulting blasts.
Social media pages affiliated with the Assad regime have been sharing posts saying a man named Anas Albiat and his wife Rama Arnaout. along with their infant son, were killed in the strike.
According to the observatory, among the sites hit were Revolutionary Guards’ compounds south of Damascus, a strategic research center northwest of Damascus, Hezbollah facilities near the Syrian-Lebanese border, where large fires were reported after several arms depots were hit.
In addition, a research center in Homs was reportedly struck, in addition to an airbase south of Homs that serves Iranian and Hezbollah forces.
The Israeli army has yet to comment on the incident.
Syrian state TV station al-Ikhbariya, citing its correspondent, said the pressure of explosions over Damascus had caused damage to some homes in Sahnaya, south of the capital, breaking glass and slightly injuring a number of people.
State news agency SANA cited its correspondent as saying Syrian air defenses had brought down a number of the missiles.
In recent years, Israel has carried out hundreds of strikes in Syria that it says have targeted its regional arch foe, Iran, and the Lebanese Hezbollah group, which it calls the biggest threat to its borders.
Iran and Hezbollah are fighting on the side of President Bashar Assad in the Syrian war, and Israel says they are trying to turn Syria into a new front against Israelis.
On June 12, SANA reported that Syrian Air Defenses thwarted an Israeli attack on Tal al-Hara in southern Syria and shot down a number of missiles.
Located in Daraa Governorate, Tal al-Hara is considered as a strategic hill overlooking the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights.
The missile attack resulted only in damage and Israel then conducted an “electronic war” in which radars were subjected to interference, SANA added.
Hours after the incident, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a message saying that Israel responds “decisively and forcibly to any attack against us,” yet did not claim responsibility for the alleged attack.
Erdogan Just Suffered a Humiliating Defeat. And Thanks to Istanbul, Turkey’s Democracy Just Won a Famous Victory//CRIMSON TAZVINZWA//
Denied his first victory in Istanbul’s mayoral elections on dubious grounds, Imamoglu has now won by a far larger margin of victory. He’s humbled Erdogan big time – and offered new hope for Turkey’s embattled democrats.
ISTANBUL – “You protected the reputation of Turkish democracy in front of the whole world. You protected our tradition of democracy, one that has existed for more than a hundred years.”
Ekrem Imamoglu addressing Istanbul voters in his victory speech on 23 June 2019
The verdict is in: anti-Erdogan candidate Ekrem Imamoglu has won again – and this time round, he’s done it big time.
His opponent, the AKP’s Binali Yildirim conceded defeat just two hours after polling stations closed. With 99.2% of the vote in, Imamoglu has a nine-point lead over Yildirim – a margin of victory of 800,000 votes.