Gay actor and blogger Natan Azulay went undercover to get “conversion therapy” from the Orthodox Jewish organization Atzat Nefesh (‘Suggestion to Soul’), and then published a report on the Israeli website Mako. A few days afterward, he found graffiti sprayed on the entrance to his home: “homo, we’ll murder you.”
From the report published in mako the suspicion arises that ‘Atzat Nefesh’ presents misinformation about the treatment to which it refers patients, as it declares openly that these therapies have “scientific support and a high percentage of success,” while the Ministry of Health last October adopted the position paper of the Federation of Psychologists, that prohibits the use of such treatment methods, and even warned the public about such treatments. Natan’s report indicates that Atzat Nefesh continues as usual to refer people to “therapists” whose training is questionable and who are not considered mental health professionals.
A few days after the release of the report, Natan Azulay, who wrote the report, discovered threatening graffiti on the entrance to his home that reads, “homo, we’ll murder you.” A complaint was filed Wednesday on suspicion of threats and destruction of property. The police are now investigating.
One of the investigation’s directions is that a violent element was trying to intimidate because of the report published last week which gained great exposure. Following the incident, the Aguda filed a complaint with the registrar of associations to examine the activities of Atzat Nefesh, and today also submitted a request to the Attorney General to take action against organizations that promote conversion therapy.
Also, on Wednesday, MK Miri Regev expressed shock at the worrisome findings of the report: “I read the article that revealed the methods of the organization, and I was shocked,” she wrote on her official Facebook page. “After psychological professionals in Israel and the Ministry of Health warned against this system, after it has been proven that it causes frustration and suicide among young gay men, the organization continues to refer applicants to unauthorized “therapists” who exert a series of mental pressures on those who above all need support and understanding. It is inconceivable that a registered organization in Israel will act to antagonize an entire population, violate basic psychological ethics and blatantly mislead the public, while recieving money to do so. ”
MK Yael German, the outgoing Health Minister, also commented on the incident: “I want to express full support for the appeal of the gay community organizations to the Attorney General in order to take action against organizations that promote conversion therapy”.
The LGBT Society said that other MKs join these calls and intend to take action against Atzat Neshesh. “The Aguda strongly condemns the act of vandalism and threats to Mako pride reporter Natan Azulay following an investigation into what is happening in the organization.”