Newly elected Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau dismissed on Thursday criticism of a racially-loaded comment he made earlier this week, calling it ‘a joke that lost control.’
During a meeting with ultra-Orthodox yeshiva students on Tuesday, in an attempt to dissuade them from watching basketball on television, Lau asked “why do you care whether these Kushim [a derogatory term used in Hebrew for black people] who are paid in Tel Aviv beat the kushim who are paid in Greece?” The recording was broadcast by Hakol Haharedi, a Haredi news service.
In an interview on Israel Radio Thursday, Lau addressed the anger surrounding his remark for the first time, saying Israelis “excel at taking a humorous remark and turning it into a headline.”
He added that “the one and only headline is - you are yeshiva students so study the Torah.”
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