(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Security officials upgraded protection for Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel Wednesday after the Bayit Yehudi MK received threats against his life.
The bodyguards are apparently not only due to threats related to the current wave of Palestinian violence.
Ariel also received threatening phone calls and text messages after he suggested transferring stray cats to a foreign country. The idea was met with outrage by animal rights groups and militant vegetarians.
The activists even distributed a photo of Ariel wearing a Nazi SS uniform on social media.
“The incitement against me crossed all redlines,” Ariel said. “I filed a complaint with the Knesset Guard. I hope the matter will be investigated quickly and thoroughly. Such vile threats will not deter me.
I expect all democracy advocates to condemn this.”
Ariel wrote to Environmental Protection Minister Avi Gabbay last month to consult with him on alternative solutions to the country’s current program of spaying and neutering stray cats. Ariel proposed two options – the first, to use the existing budget to “transfer feral cats from one gender [either all males or all females] to a foreign country” willing to receive them.
The agriculture minister’s second proposal involved using sprays, powders or pastes to prevent male cats from smelling the odors of wandering females. Although not written in the letter itself, many politicians and media reports claimed that Ariel would like to end the spaying and neutering program due to halachic concerns about the process.
An Agriculture and Rural Development Ministry spokesman said the office carried out consultations regarding the options available and examined alternative proposals to spaying and neutering that “do not involve grief and suffering.”
“Among the proposals that arose was the possibility to transfer the animals to a foreign country that would agree to this, but this proposal was rejected,” the ministry said.