In a statement, the paper's acting editor, Martin Ivens, said that insulting the memory of Holocaust victims or invoking blood libel "the last thing I or anyone connected with the Sunday Times would countenance."
"The paper has long written strongly in defense of Israel and its security concerns, as have I as a columnist," Ivens said. "We are, however, reminded of the sensitivities in this area by the reaction to the cartoon, and I will of course bear them very carefully in mind in future."
British political cartoons can be shocking to those used to tamer American drawings of donkeys and elephants slugging it out on Capitol Hill.
Distorted features, blood, and excrement are commonplace. Former Prime Minister Tony Blair, a once-popular leader whose reputation was badly damaged by his decision to support the U.S. invasion of Iraq, was often depicted with ghoulish features, sharpened fangs, or with his hands or mouth drenched in gore.
Blair, who now serves as Middle East peace envoy and who has also been brutally lampooned in Scarfe's cartoons, expressed "sharp reservations" about the drawing, according to a statement put out by Netanyahu's office.
Scarfe, whose career with the Sunday Times stretches back to the 1960s, often makes use of blood in his cartoons. The red fluid is splashed across his website and featured, for example, in a recent cartoon of Syrian leader Bashar Assad, who was pictured as a green, wraith-like creature drinking greedily from an oversized cup labeled "Children's Blood."
Daniel Estrin in Jerusalem contributed to this report.
The Sunday Times: http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/
Gerald Scarfe's website: http://www.geraldscarfe.com/
The Board of Deputies of British Jews: http://www.bod.org.uk/
Raphael Satter can be reached at: http://raphae.li/twitter