A German newspaper has expressed regret after publishing a cartoon that depicted the State of Israel as a ravenous monster, the Yisrael Hayom daily newspaper reports.
The cartoon, published Tuesday in the Munich-based Sueddeutsche Zeitung, depicts Israel as a beast devouring German military weapons.
The picture appeared alongside two reviews of books about Israel.
The caption suggested that the Jewish state was seen by its enemies as akin to Moloch -- a monstrous deity from the Old Testament to whom followers sacrificed their children.
"For 20 years, Israel has been receiving weapons, some of them free of charge. Its enemies believe it is a ravenous Moloch," the cartoon's caption read.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center denounced the newspaper for publishing the anti-Semitic cartoon, saying that while Israel “is never above reproach or criticism, the depiction of the Jewish state as a ravenous monster deploys a classic tool of dehumanization/animalization.”
“Such horrific stereotypes were all-too devastatingly deployed by the propaganda machines of both Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union," said the Center.
Yisrael Hayom reported that the Israeli ambassador to Germany, Yakov Hadas-Handelsman, criticized the picture as being "tasteless in a grave, misleading way."
In a letter addressed to the newspaper's editor, Hadas-Handelsman wrote that the paper had "crossed the line of acceptable journalism" and added that "one would expect Germany to be especially sensitive [toward the Jewish people]."
The newspaper said in a brief statement on its website that it regretted "misunderstandings" caused by the caption and that publishing the cartoon "was a mistake."
The image used in the cartoon had been taken from a stock library and wasn't originally intended as a depiction of Israel, the newspaper said, according to Yisrael Hayom.