One can only marvel at the concern demonstrated by Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Uri Ariel for the testicles of tomcats. Who would have believed the cool, wily, ruthless macher is nothing but a sentimental softy. He won’t allow such abuse. While experts believe that neutering is crucial to the welfare of Israel’s feral cat population, Ariel isn’t buying their nonsense. Neither halakha — Jewish religious law — nor his own compassionate heart would allow it.
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The wonderment at the cabinet member’s flexible compassion grows when we recall that this is the same man who walks around the Temple Mount glassy-eyed, hoping for the rebuilding of the temple. Praying for the opportunity to witness as the throats of thousands of beasts are slit and the necks of tens of thousands of birds are broken. In his dreams he sees the workers of the Temple grill sprinkling the hot blood of all the slaughtered bulls, sheep, goats, cows, rams and doves on the corners of the altar — at the behest of the merciful commandments.
The merciful minister also hopes that once a year, on Yom Kippur, a goat will be taken and thrown live off a cliff into the abyss, to be crushed on the rocks into a pulp. This is something halakha not only allows, but requires. Because the goat had the bad luck not to be born a cat.
There is also no doubt that the benevolent and compassionate minister also supports kosher slaughter as halakha dictates — by severing the trachea and esophagus and letting the animal convulse until it dies. But if someone would suggest that the killing of kosher animals be done under anesthesia, the way cats are neutered, the minister would yell, “God forbid! It’s forbidden!” That’s how concerned halakha is about animals. It allows pieces of a baby’s penis to be cut off, but cats? Anesthesia? God have mercy!
It’s also worth remembering that the honorable minister, like all Israeli citizens, routinely participates in the spectacular abuse of three million Palestinians. They too are some animal subspecies, but praise God, they are not felines. Therefore the minister can continue to abuse them without betraying his compassionate soul or violating his halakha.
But let’s get back to the cat problem. The honorable minister — presumably in consultation with the immigration police and the Interior Ministry — suggested transferring the cats to a country “willing to take them.” After all, that’s how we deal with unwanted creatures. But until we find such a state (South Sudan? Eritrea? Nigeria?), what shall we do?
Here are a few suggestions. We could build them a holding pen in the Negev. We could call it ... Argaz Holot (litter box); after all, we have a Holot holding pen for unwanted humans. There the males and the females will be separated, to keep them from reproducing while waiting for a country to take them.
So too, we must demand that all the female cats of Israel dress modestly and cover their heads. As we know, cat fur is sexually arousing. “Back to religion” seminars will be held for the toms, with a special stress on morality and controlling lust.
It is also worth passing a law requiring any cat that does dare to reproduce to wear a tag indicating that the wearer is a fornicating sinner, and presumably also receives funding from a foreign state.
All this is happening under our very noses even now, leaving us to wonder where the district psychiatrist is when you need him.