Newly installed Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau said on Thursday that his comments referring to “kushim,” a derogatory Israeli term for black people, were made in a humorous context and reaction to them was out of proportion.
Speaking to yeshiva students last week, Lau said that watching sports on television was a waste of time.
“Why do you care about whether these kushim who get paid in Tel Aviv beat the kushim who get paid in Greece?” the rabbi asked yeshiva students who watch Euroleague basketball.
Speaking about the incident with Army Radio on Thursday, Lau said the comments were made in a joking manner and were ancillary to his main message.
“We’re champions in taking a humorous expression and making it into a headline,” he said. “The one and only headline was ‘you are yeshiva students so study Torah.”