An exhibition planned by photographer Spencer Tunick, which features large numbers of naked people, caused a stir in the Knesset Wednesday.
Shas MK Nissim Zeev claimed the idea of "taking mass naked photos in the holy land" was crazy.
Zeev complained that the photos "take human beings and train them to be animals", and said he was "not surprised that some foreigner has come here and brought up such a deceitful idea".
"I understand that he has an artistic task, but it's interesting how any form of prostitution has become art. That's the way it is lately," Zeev said.
The Shas MK also criticized Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov, who supported the show. "
What kind of Jewish state are we talking about here? What kind of Jewish culture? What values?" he asked. "What, have we gone crazy? This is artistic bestializing."
Zeev went on to link the planned photos to African refugees living in Israel at this time.
"There is no Jewish state here, but rather, an Israeli state. It even seems Darfuris are Israelis lately. All those who are currently coming in from Sudan, in two years they will be Israeli," he said.
MK Uri Orbach (Habayit Hayehudi) agreed with the analysis. "I understand that one of the shoots is supposed to take place in the Dead Sea. This is the lowest place on earth, and after this it may sink even lower," he said.
Deputy Industry, Trade, and Labor Minister Orit Noked responded on behalf of the government, explaining that the tourism minister could not be present because he was abroad.
"I think this is so far just an idea," she said. "I also can't see many Israelis participating in this exhibition, so I don't think you should be so concerned."
Noked said Tunick had appealed to the Tel Aviv Municipality, which welcomed him. "The Tourism Ministry believes it is important to position Israel as an attractive, modern, singular, safe, and lively destination, just like any other country," she said.
Noked added that while the ministry touted Israel's appeal as the Holy Land, it was also focusing on Tel Aviv and Eilat as tourism locales.
"The labeling of Tel Aviv as a worldly city is aimed at creating a youthful, cosmopolitan, modern and dynamic image," she concluded.