God wanted to punish the U.S. President George W. Bush for his support for the unilateral disengagement plan, in which Israel evacuated 21 settlements in the Gaza Strip and four minor ones in the northern West Bank, said the Shas spiritual leader and former Chief Sephardic Rabbi Ovadia Yosef said Tuesday.

Yousef and many ultra-orthodox Jews in Israel believe that this recent natural disaster in the U.S. is a result of Bush’s support of the pullout.

 “There was a tsunami and there are terrible natural disasters, because there isn’t enough Torah study… black people reside there (in New Orleans). Blacks will study the Torah? (God said) let’s bring a tsunami and drown them,” the rabbi said in his weekly sermon.

“Hundreds of thousands remained homeless. Tens of thousands have been killed. All of this because they have no God,” added Rabbi Yousef.

Rabbi Yousef asserted that the Americans deserve the Hurricane.

“Bush was behind the (expulsion of) Gush Katif,” he said. “He encouraged Sharon to expel Gush Katif…we had 15,000 people expelled here, and there 150,000 (were expelled). It was God’s retribution ..God does not short-change anyone.”

“He (Bush) perpetrated the expulsion. Now everyone is mad at him…this is his punishment for what he did to Gush Katif, and everyone else who did as he told them, their time will come, too,” the rabbi said.

Shas leader ended his sermon by saying: “Where can evil escape to from God? Its time will come and it will be slapped on the head.”

Apparently the Rabbi’s comments enraged some Knesset members who responded by saying that the what the Rabbi said was nonsense and that he should stop appearing to the public.

Knesset Member Eliezer Cohen (National Union) dismissed Ovadia’s comments saying, “I know meteorology well enough not to believe such rubbish,” he said.

Meanwhile, Knesset Member Ronny Brison said: “What, God is cross-eyed? He metes out punishments at the wrong place? We’re sick and tired of Rabbi Ovadia’s primitive worldview. He already did his part; he can remove himself from public life.”

The Hurricane caused a serious damage in the area, causing thousands of people to be killed.  The federal government of the United Stated, is allocating more USD 100 Billions in aide to the victims and the rescue teams.

The government plans to distribute debit cards worth $2,000 each to victims of Hurricane Katrina, The Associated Press has learned.