The Foreign Ministry on Friday condemned comments attributed to Israel's ambassador to Australia in a newspaper interview in which he is quoted as referring to Asians as "the yellow race."
The ambassador, Naftali Tamir, made the comments in an interview with the Haaretz daily, telling the paper why Israel and Australia have to cooperate.
"Israel and Australia are like sisters in Asia. We are in Asia without the characteristics of Asians. We don't have yellow skin and slanted eyes. Asia is basically the yellow race. Australia and Israel are not - we are basically the white race," he was quoted as saying.
Foreign ministry spokeswoman Ilana Ravid told Ynet that the ministry was checking whether ambassador was quoted accurately. "If they are accurate, these are grave and inappropriate expressions that the Foreign Ministry will not allow to pass without a response," she said.
Ministry officials said Tamir was on a flight to Australia and had not yet been reached for clarification.