Rabbi David Basri, a prominent Kabbalah preacher, has attributed an outbreak of deadly bird flu in Israel to calls in election campaigns to legalise gay marriages.

With less than a week to go before the polls open, his remarks have caused a flutter through left-wing political campaigners. Mertez party member Yossi Beilin is seeking liberal votes with a pro gay marriage stance that he’s quite literally pressing home on stickers reading “voice of the groom and groom” or “voice of the bride and bride”. Though Israel has recognised common law marriage of same sex couples since 1994, the issue of legal civil partnerships is a contentious one in the election arena.

Wading in firmly against flighty liberalism, Basri’s son quoted his father in a religious edict saying “God punishes depravity first through plagues against animals and then in people.” It should be obvious, he concluded, that bird flu is caused by political parties “strengthening and encouraging homosexuality”. A devastating blow to twitchers everywhere, and pretty tough on the birds.

The dead birds would atone for the sins of pro-gay politicians, Basri hoped, though even he had to concede that death through infection was not a run of the mill form of sacrifice.

Rabbi Danny Rich, the Head of British Liberal Judaism (above peals of laughter from the rest of his office) said: “this is so stupid it’s hardly worth responding to, but even scientists are not sure why bird flu has occurred, so I suppose this man is entitled to his flight of fancy. As far as I’m aware birds are not categorised by their sexuality, so what they have to do with gay marriage I don’t know. This Kabbalist seems to be muddled by his own mysticism and mystery. He must be a confused, sad man.”