An outspoken member of Israel’s parliament has said recent earthquakes that have hit the country are a consequence of gay rights laws.

Shlomo Benizri, who is a member of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, was speaking in a Knesset (parliament) debate on earthquake preparedness.

After reading passages from the Old Testament, he said that in his view one cause of earthquakes is that “the Knesset gives legitimacy to sodomy.

“A cost-effective way of averting earthquake damage would be to stop passing legislation on how to encourage homosexual activity in the State of Israel, which anyways causes earthquakes.”

The chair of Israel’s LGBT Association told Ynetnews:

“It is sad that a religious MK (MP) in Israel doesn’t think earthquakes are God-made.

“On the other hand, I suppose we should be flattered he attributes us with such magical powers.”

Mr Benizri’s comments echo those of fundamentalist Christians.

Last July the Rt Rev Graham Dow, the Bishop of Carlisle, shocked the liberal wing of the Church of England by suggesting that floods that caused chaos and death across the UK were caused by God after he was provoked by the introduction of gay equality.

“This is a strong and definite judgment because the world has been arrogant in going its own way,” he said.

“We are reaping the consequences of our moral degradation, as well as the environmental damage that we have caused.”

In November 2005 a councillor for the Democratic Unionist Party in Northern Ireland tried to blame the gay community for Hurricane Katrina, which devastated New Orleans.

Maurice Mills said it was a judgement from God:

“The media failed to report that the hurricane occurred just two days prior to the annual homosexual event called the Southern Decadence Festival, which the previous year had attracted an estimated 125,000 people.”