Education Minister Rabbi Rafi Peretz stated on Tuesday that he is ‘strongly opposed’ to gay conversion therapy and never referred anyone for such treatment, following comments to the contrary that created an uproar, including among teachers and school principals. Peretz gave an interview over the weekend in which he was asked whether he thought it was possible to convert someone from their homosexual orientation. “I think that it is possible,” he responded, and went on to say that he had been involved in giving counseling on such issues.In letter to school principals written on Tuesday, Peretz said that over his years as a teacher and educator he had been approached on several occasions by students about their sexual orientation. “I always listened intently to their distress and on occasion recommended they consult with professionals,” Peretz wrote. “However, I never gave them a cold shoulder or advised them to do conversion therapy to which I am strongly opposed,” he continued. “I know that conversion therapy is illegitimate and severe. This is my unambiguous position.” He said that such treatment is “intrusive” and “creates more suffering than help and can even endanger a person’s life through [potential] suicide that can be prevented.” Politicians from across the political spectrum, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, castigated Peretz for his comments. There were numerous calls for his dismissal, and some teachers threatened to go on strike until he was dismissed.