Appeal of conversion therapy rabbi convicted of sexual offenses accepted

The Jerusalem District Court accepted on Tuesday the appeal of Rabbi Reuven Walzer, a rabbi who carried out conversion therapy and was convicted of committing sexual offenses against two of his patients, according to KAN news.
His sentence will be lessened from three years to 20 months.
Walzer was part of Atzat Nefesh, an organization founded by Rabbi Shlomo Aviner that offers conversion and other therapies for subjects with sexual issues.
"Shortening the sentence for the 'therapist' is a warning sign to a state that still allows mental and physical harm under the guise of mental health care," said Agudah - The Association for LGBTQ Equality in Israel, according to KAN. "As long as MK Haim Katz halts the law banning conversion therapy, we will continue to see severe abuse."
"There is a double moral distortion in this decision, both toward the victims and toward the general issue of conversion therapies. Unfortunately, the legal message is not sharp enough," tweeted Havruta, an organization of LGBTQ+ religious men in Israel, in response to the decision.
The Knesset approved a bill to ban psychologists from practicing conversion therapy in Israel, amid a stormy plenum vote. The bill passed 42 for and 36 against, with haredi (ultra-Orthodox) members of the government threatening consequences after coalition members voted in support of the bill.
The legislation, proposed by Meretz leader Nitzan Horowitz, would take away the license of psychologists who use conversion therapy, fine them and send them to jail for repeat offenses. It is not expected to progress any further as the coalition parties no longer support it.
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