The New York City-based organization devoted to battling anti-Semitism and racism called Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef’s comments “racially charged” and “utterly unacceptable.”
Yosef, who represents Israel’s Sephardic Jews of Middle Eastern and North African descent, made the comment during his weekly sermon. His office said he was citing a passage from the Talmud when he used a derogatory term for a Black person and then interchanged it with monkey.
Yosef has gotten into trouble before for suggesting secular women behave like animals because they dress immodestly.
His late father, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the spiritual leader of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, also had a knack for citing obscure ancient texts that offended Israelis.