Yaakov Litzman, health minister for Israel, has tested positive for COVID-19 after just last month saying that the virus was “punishment” for homosexuality.
According to The Times of Israel, Litzman, 71, has been accused of violating his own ministry’s guidelines on social distancing in order to continue to attend prayer services.
As well as being Israel’s health minister, he also leads the ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism party and witnesses said he was seen praying at the home of another member of his sect three days after indoor services were banned.
His own department’s guidelines became stricter, barring prayer services altogether, but Litzman was later seen attending a service at a synagogue near his home.
He and his wife Chava have now contracted COVID-19, and as a result of recent contact with him, Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and several other top government officials have been forced to self-isolate for 15 days.
His office has denied all accusations that Litzman broke his own social distancing rules.
Last month, speaking about the origins of COVID-19, the health minister said: “It’s a divine punishment against homosexuality.”