17 Jan 2012

Chief rabbi and Christian therapists under fire over homosexuality

Young Jewish Amsterdammers are furious that their chief rabbi has signed a statement issued in America by 162 rabbis and Jewish leaders saying homosexuality is a disease which can be cured.

Aryeh Ralbag, who lives in New York and visits the Netherlands once or twice a year to rule on legal matters, signed the statement as chief rabbi of Amsterdam and de facto of the Netherlands, a young gay man wrote to the Volkskrant in an email. Ronnie Eisenmann of the Jewish Community Amsterdam told the paper he has asked Ralbag to delete his Dutch position from the list of signatories. 'Saying he is chief rabbi here gives the impression that the Jewish community in the Netherlands supports his view. That is not the case,' he said.


In a separate report, Trouw says medical organisations and health insurers do not want to pay for a therapy designed to teach homosexuals to repress their 'sinful urges'. The treatment is offered by the orthodox Christian organisation Different, a recognised provider of therapies in mental health care. Because it is officially recognised, health insurers cannot refuse to pay for the treatment, Trouw says. However, doctors and insurers say the treatment is damaging and even dangerous and want the health inspectorate to look into the matter.