A survey conducted by Israeli newspaper Haaretz has revealed that 46 percent of the people surveyed see homosexuality as a perversion. The remaining 42 percent answered that it was not a perversion, while twelve percent said they did not know.

The poll, conducted under Proffesor Camil Fuchs, consisted of a representative sample of 498 interviewees. Fuchs said that despite the figures, there has been a major decline in homophobia compared to previous surveys.

However he expressed concerns that this could be due to the homophobic attack on a Tel Aviv gay youth centre last week, which left two people dead.

“It’s possible that what we have here is a reaction to trauma and also that hate-filled people think this is not the moment to admit it,” he said.

The survey also found that 71 percent of the ultra-Orthodox population believe homosexuality is a perversion. So do 67 percent of the religious (Orthodox), 64 percent of the Arabs, 57 percent of the Russian-speaking immigrants, 44 percent of the observant (traditional) Jews and 24 percent of the secular population.

Yaniv Weizman, head of Tel Aviv’s gay youth organisation, said “It comes as no surprise to me that almost half the public thinks I’m mentally ill and should be imprisoned, treated or killed. However, I feel we’ve made some progress. If 26 percent of the religious and 27 percent of the Arabs say we’re not perverts, you can say we’ve achieved something.”

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