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Israeli education minister apologizes for remarks on gays

July 17, 2019

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel’s education minister has apologized for controversial remarks about homosexual “conversion therapy” and intermarriage among Diaspora Jews that drew widespread criticism in Israel and the U.S.

Rafi Peretz, leader of a small religious nationalist party, wrote in a letter to the head of the Jewish Agency on Tuesday that his likening of marriage between Diaspora Jews and non-Jews to a “second Holocaust” was “misplaced.”

Peretz’s comment at a Cabinet meeting was leaked to the press last week.

In another letter to school administrators, Peretz said he “vehemently opposed” a controversial technique that seeks to convert gay men into heterosexuals after originally saying he supported it.

The minister’s comments about conversion therapy drew widespread condemnation and hundreds protested in Tel Aviv.

Peretz, a former chief rabbi in Israel’s military, assumed office in Israel’s interim government last month.

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