Wife of Israel's interior minister tweets, and deletes, racist joke about President Obama

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Silvan Shalom Barack Obama

Judy Mozes, an Israeli talk-show host and the wife of the country's Interior Minister, tweeted a racist joke about President Barack Obama on Sunday morning.

She then quickly deleted it and apologized.

Mozes, who is married Silvan Shalom, a Likud party member and currently vice prime minister and head of the Ministry of the Interior, tweeted a joke she said she recently heard that compared Obama's skin color to a weak cup of coffee.

She has nearly 75,000 followers.

Mozes, 57, then deleted the tweet and posted an apology.

Yair Rosenberg, a writer and commenter on Israeli affairs, offered context for Mozes remarks, saying that she has become known for "her weird outbursts on many subjects." Her comments have also plagued her husband's political career, Rosenberg added.

The joke comes at a fraught time in the US-Israeli relationship, as differences on an array of policy and security issues have frequently set the Obama administration and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's ruling Likud government at odds.

At times these differences have led Israeli leaders to stake out positions on American politics, as when Netanyahu appeared to voice support for Mitt Romney ahead of the 2012 presidential election.

obama netanyahu

Moreover, as noted by The National, "Israeli politicians across the political spectrum are increasingly comfortable using the domestic American political arena as a stage where elections back home are won and lost."

Racial issues have also played a factor in US-Israeli relations. Tensions between the White House and Tel Aviv reached a peak in March, when the Obama administration criticized the alleged race baiting deployed by Netanyahu in the days before a close election.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said unprompted at the time that the White House would share its "deep concern about the divisive rhetoric used to marginalize Arab Israeli citizens."

Race is also a controversial topic in Israel. At numerous rallies, Israelis have condemned and attacked migrants from Africa and other non-Jewish or non-white Israelis.

These tensions have sometimes led to violence, as in a clash in early May that ended with dozens of arrests, scores of wounded, and police use of tear gas and stun grenades to disperse protestors.

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