An influential rabbi in Israel has sparked outrage after saying homosexuality and gay pride parades are the reason behind the spread of the deadly coronavirus in the country.
Rabbi Meir Mazuz was condemned by human rights groups and urged to apologise after he made his remarks about the Israeli LGBTQ+ community.
The country’s Anti-Defamation League also demanded the rabbi to apologise according to Israel Hayom.
Mazuz gave a sermon on Saturday evening in which he lashed out against the queer community for organising pride marches and said this had “angered” God.
“A parade against nature, and when a person goes against nature, the one who created nature takes revenge on him,” he said.
Mazuz then claimed all countries are being “held to account” with cononavirus for their acceptance of homosexuality.
He also falsely claimed that the deadly virus is absent in the Arab world because there are no homosexuals in these countries.
“Arab countries that don’t have this evil inclination,” he falsely claimed. There are confirmed cases in almost every Arab state.
Mazuz then said the outbreak in Iran, the most serious in the region, was a punishment from God because of Iran’s hatred of Israel and their “evil inclinations”.
Israel, which so far has 21 confirmed cases, has imposed stringent measures on many European nations in a bid to contain the virus.
Local media reported that the government was likely to soon begin placing restrictions on flights arriving from some parts of the US.