Deputy Minister Ayoob Kara caused a diplomatic incident last week after suggesting that the massive earthquakes which have recently rocked Italy were a divine punishment for the country’s failure to vote against the UNESCO decision denying Jewish ties to the Temple Mount. Backlash against his comments led to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) issuing an apology on Kara’s behalf, Ynet reported.
Kara, a Druze-Israeli politician who was in Italy on a diplomatic visit to the Vatican during one of the earthquakes, wrote in a memo following the tremors, “I’m sure that the earthquake happened because of the UNESCO decision, which the Pope strongly disagreed with. He even said publicly that the holy land is connected to the Nation of Israel.”
Pope Francis had issued a statement after the passing of a second UNESCO resolution, declaring that God had promised the Holy Land to the people of Israel.
Italy abstained from voting on the resolution, which essentially defines Jerusalem as a Muslim city with virtually no significance to Judaism or Christianity, despite thousands of years of recorded history, as well as archaeological proof, establishing the undeniable connection.
Its passing was dismissed by Israeli figures as absurd.
Italy has suffered at least three powerful earthquakes within the last week. On Sunday morning, a 6.6-magnitude quake struck near the center of the country, the latest in a series which has seen significant damage to infrastructure and historical sites in central Italy, including the medieval Basilica of St. Benedict, located in Norcia, believed to have been built over the site of the saint’s birth in the 5th century.
Kara’s conviction that Italy’s failure to vote against the resolution led to an immediate divine punishment in the form of earthquakes quickly spurred a reaction from the Israeli government, which distanced itself from the comments.
The MFA issued a strong statement condemning him, saying the remarks were “inappropriate” and calling on the ministry and Kara personally to apologize. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to meet with the minister to deal with the fallout from the incident.
This is not the first time divine intervention has been linked to natural or geological disasters following anti-Israel actions. Most recently, a Bible Codes video by Rabbi Matityahu Glazerson suggested that Hurricane Matthew, a powerful and deadly storm which claimed over 1,600 lives in Central America and the southeastern United States earlier in the month, was a punishment for American interference in Israel’s building policies in Judea and Samaria.