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Israeli minister weighs population transfer — of kittens

Arguing that spaying and neutering violates Jewish law, Israel’s agriculture minister proposes a crime against humanity — against cats.

Kittens being driven from their homeland. (Illustrative photo by Shutterstock.com)

Kittens being driven from their homeland. (Illustrative photo by Shutterstock.com)

We knew it would happen sooner or later. The occupation has finally come home to roost. The darkest of Israel’s injustices, mass displacement and population transfer, is now threatening the Tel Aviv left-wing establishment’s holiest of holies — cute, little kittens.

Israeli Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel is proposing a full-fledged population transfer of Israel’s stray feline population, or rather all of its males, or females. No, seriously. We’re not making this up.

The transfer plan was revealed in a letter from the minister that was published by Yedioth Ahronoth on Monday. According to the report, Ariel, a religious Jew, is looking for alternatives to spaying and neutering the cute little creatures because he believes doing so violates Jewish law.

In the letter, Ariel suggests taking the budget for neutering and spaying and instead using it to “transfer dogs and cats of a single gender (all the males or females) to a foreign country that is willing to accept them.”

The wording, “finding a foreign country that would agree to take” them, is, of course, reminiscent of Israel’s efforts to deport African asylum seekers to third countries, often times in exchange for weapons or other unpublished quid pro quo arrangements.

Many asylum seekers who took part in such “voluntary deportation” programs were sent to Uganda and Rwanda, and have reported that they were left with no money or legal status, many being forced to live on the streets.

One must seriously question whether Israel will be able to negotiate a better, more humane deal for its unwanted feline infiltrator population. Even more worrying: will tabbys and white cats receive better arrangements than their darker-furred brethren?

And then there is the question of how to actually get the cats on planes? Will Ariel hire trappers? Will he leave a trail of cat nip or canned tuna? Or maybe he’ll just line the streets of Tel Aviv with cardboard boxes?

Zehava Galon, head of the left-wing Meretz party, responded to the forced transfer plan by suggesting “this is the time to find a foreign country that will agree to take [Minister Ariel].”

Which begs the question, what country would actually agree to take in the kittens? If no sovereign country is found to take in the feline exiles, Israel could always build them their own settlement somewhere in the West Bank.

Ariel, usually known for trying to spark intifadas and religious wars with his Temple Mount activism, is now making new enemies — Israel’s animal rights movements.

“Does Uri Ariel think that transferring [the cats] from here will cause them less suffering,” preeminent animal rights organization “Let the Animals Live” asked in a Facebook post Monday morning, in which it promised to challenge the population transfer in Israel’s High Court.

At least there’s that. The cats will have their day in court.

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    1. Ginger Eis

      For those who care about the truth, instead of the juvenile political mumbo-jumbo of Mr. Michael Omer-Man, here is the truth. Basically there are two visions on issue both of which are competing for what is in the best interest of the cats and the dogs:

      Vision 1

      “Minister of Agriculture Uri Ariel (Jewish Home) believes that neutering and spaying dogs and cats to prevent their reproducing contradicts Jewish law. Ariel wants to take the NIS 4.5 million budget that is currently allotted to spaying and neutering, and use it “to transfer cats and/or dogs of one sex (all males or all females) to a foreign country that will agree to receive them. Ariel sees the current policy of neutering and spaying as contradicting Judaism because it causes the animals unnecessary suffering and because God blessed all creatures with the blessing of procreation – “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.”. He has reportedly stopped the ministry’s spaying and neutering project.

      Vision 2

      “Meretz MK Tamar Zandberg wants to convince Ariel to rethink his idea. The spaying and neutering of street cats is the only step currently being taken to prevent the population of street cats from growing and for improving their health,” she claimed. “Stopping this activity will lead to a dramatic rise in the number of kittens born every year and this in turn will mean that more street cats will die of hunger, thirst, cold, dehydration and more.”


      Who is right?

      Difficult to say. In fact, I don’t know. But, I do not agree with transferring the cats and the dogs anywhere outside the Land of Israel. They are also Israeli (hihi hihi) and must be left alone here – for the better or worse. Animals, especially cats, are very beautiful creatures. Leave them alone – everybody!

      Reply to Comment
    2. Ben

      You can’t make this stuff up. The Agriculture Minister of a modern country in 2015. An Eretz Nehederet episode? Nope. Real life inside the Israeli government. Of course don’t you think that what some of these extremists really pray for is for the Big Guy in the sky to wave his arm and magically spay and neuter the Palestinians? Like something out of Deuteronomy? It’s so much easier to fantasize like that than to get down to brass tacks and face up to the fact that there are two people in this land and they aren’t going anywhere. (And that’s not even talking about the treatment of the refugees of course.)

      Reply to Comment
    3. Ben

      The more you think about this the weirder it gets. Seems to be part of a general attitude by this government’s ministers of “we are too pure for this, we don’t do normal things required of modern countries (spaying cats, having black African refugees among us, etc.) but some other people somewhere should deal with it. Not Us. If we have to we’ll pay them.” Ship the problem somewhere else. And then, “One must seriously question whether Israel will be able to negotiate a better, more humane deal for its unwanted feline infiltrator population.” Indeed.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Ben

      And here’s a question for the rabbis: Never mind that the early Zionist are turning over in their graves hearing that those who came after them are letting supposed halachic law about cats multiplying drive dictates of the government of the progressive, modern secular country they envisioned, please tell me how the biblical commandment to “go forth and multiply *in* the land of Israel” is satisfied by shipping the multipliers *out* of the land of Israel (and to god knows what satanic fate but that’s a separate subject)? Hello? If I were God, I’d be ticked off. I’d think I was being toyed with.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Ben



      “Pavlovian, right-wing response is interesting because of from where it derives. Transfer is the answer to every problem, be it Jewish-Palestinian, African refugees and now cats.”

      Reply to Comment