Israeli rabbi suggests Morocco earthquake was caused by king's call for East Jerusalem being Palestinian capital
An Israeli rabbi appeared to suggest that a devastating earthquake, which struck Morocco last month, was due to the country’s king saying Jerusalem should be the capital of a future Palestinian state.
Rabbi Mosche Elcharar, a rabbi for the local council of the town of Shlomi in northern Israel, made the bizarre statement in an op-ed he wrote for religious Zionist website Srugim.
It it he suggested that the Moroccan earthquake was divine punishment for Moroccan King Mohammed VI's "audacious" call for peace with Israel based on 1967 borders and East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state - a vision shared by most of the world.
The 8 September quake left nearly 3,000 people killed and large-scale destruction, mainly in towns and villages in the Atlas Mountains near Marrakech.
Israel claims that all of Jerusalem as its "undivided, eternal" capital, and many right-wing Israeli politicians have outright rejected any proposal to establish an independent Palestinian state.
"King Mohammed VI of Morocco recently made a bold statement, just a few months ago, asserting that Jerusalem should become the capital of the Palestinians. Almost immediately after his statement, significant regions experienced severe disturbances and collapses," wrote Elcharar, as quoted by The Jerusalem Post.
The rabbi suggested the king should "seek repentance" in the face of the devastating earthquake in his country.
He went on to theorise whether or not the 6.8 earthquake was merely a geological event or beyond that.
"The core question we must address is whether the Moroccan earthquake was solely a geological phenomenon, such as tectonic plate movements which occur in various parts of the world," he said.
"Can we draw a connection between our explanations regarding the relations of nations to the people of Israel and the crises unfolding in different parts of the world, particularly what transpired in Morocco?"
Turkey and war-torn Syria were shaken by a massive earthquake in February this year, which killed tens of thousands and left large swathes of both countries in ruins.
Other religious clerics and politicians in the Arab world have tied natural disasters to supernatural causes.
Former Morocco Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane reportedly said last month the earthquake was "probably the result of our sins", tying the catastrophe to the Moroccan people and government’s "transgressions, and violations."
He heads the opposition Islamist Justice and Development Party.
Following the February disasters in Turkey and Syria, firebrand Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr said the earthquake could be due to the lax response from Arab and Muslim states to Quran burnings in Europe.