The Knesset plenum on Wednesday passed in its preliminary reading the “Psychologists Bill (Amendment – Prohibition on Conversion Therapy), submitted by the leader of the Lobby for the LGBTQ Community Nitzan Horowitz.

The bill would make it illegal for psychologists to practice conversion therapy, which is aimed at changing an individual’s sexual tendencies. Under the terms of the bill, psychologists who violate the ban will be stripped of their licenses for at least five years, and any violation of the ban would constitute a criminal offense.

The explanatory notes attached to the bill state that “conversion treatments are ineffective and contradict the basic rules of medical ethics in many countries around the world. Moreover, they are dangerous and may cause psychological and emotional damage to the patients, which may lead to clinical depression and suicide.”

According to Horowitz, the bill aims to ban the “abuse and torture of human beings – minors and young people – who are in a difficult situation, and people take advantage of this to do bad things.” He expressed hope that Israel will join the “long list of countries that have passed such a law over in recent years.”

It is further mentioned that the Israel Psychological Association decided to erase homosexuality from the list of mental disorders and also formulated recommendations that warn against practicing these treatments and discuss the potential dangers to patients. “The psychologist must avoid serving as an envoy of any religious or social-cultural group that seeks to prevent a person from living in a way that suits his identity and inclination,” the bill states.