An ultraconservative rabbi in Israel said that coronavirus was a punishment for homosexuality. Days after this pronouncement, Israeli Health Minister Yaakov Litzman and his wife have tested positive for coronavirus.
Following the news of Litzman getting infected by coronavirus, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and several top government officials of the country isolated themselves for 15 days. The Israeli daily Haaretz reported that the head of Israel’s Mossad spy agency and the National Security Council were also asked to self-quarantine because of their interactions with Litzman.
The health minister is also a head Agudat Yisrael – an Orthodox Israeli political party.
Israel has gone into partial-lockdown to counter the coronavirus outbreak. The country has reported more than 8,430 confirmed cases and 49 people have died from COVID-19 to date. Israel’s large, insular ultra-Orthodox community, of which Litzman is a member, has been particularly hit hard by infections. In the early phases of the outbreak, some radicals had pushed back and ignored the government-mandated movement restrictions.
An earlier version of the report said that the health minister had made homophobic remarks, but the story has been updated after it has been clarified that it was the rabbi who made the comments.