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Israel minister wants stray cats deported

JERUSALEM (AP) – A Cabinet minister has drawn outrage and mockery after suggesting transferring the thousands of stray cats that walk the streets of Israel to another country.

The Yediot daily published what it said was a letter by Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel proposing the idea. It said he cited Jewish law against animal cruelty as reason not to neuter cats and a biblical commandment to populate the earth.

Ariel is from the religious Jewish Home party and usually known for fiery rhetoric against Palestinian statehood. Opposition legislator Tzipi Livni posted a picture on her Facebook page of her playing with a black and white cat. “No way will I get a foreign passport for little one,” she wrote. Israeli animal rights activists condemned the minister. Thousands of stray cats roam Israel’s streets.