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July 23, 2020 10:22 am

Gay Conversion Therapy Bill Deals Israel’s Fragile Coalition Another Blow

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Revelers take part in a gay pride parade in Tel Aviv, Israel June 8, 2018. Reuters/Corinna Kern. – The fragile coalition agreement between Israel’s Likud and Blue and White parties that brought an end to a year-long political stalemate moved a step closer to unraveling on Wednesday after a bill banning gay conversion therapy passed its first Knesset reading.

The Likud accused Blue and White of violating the coalition agreement over its last-minute support of the bill, with a Likud minister going so far as to say that the move could trigger an early election—which would be the country’s fourth in a little over a year.

The passing of the bill, which would make conversion therapy illegal, enraged the haredi parties, key coalition members, which threatened to begin advancing their own bills next week in violation of the coalition agreement.

According to Israel’s Channel 12, senior members of Blue and White admitted that they had supported the bill as a tit-for-tat move in response to the support by some members of the Likud—on the orders of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, according to Justice Minister Avi Nissenkorn (Blue and White)—for a proposal earlier this month to form a parliamentary committee of inquiry into alleged conflicts of interest in the country’s Supreme Court.

That initiative, put forward by Yamina MK Bezalel Smotrich, was voted down 54-43 on July 9.

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