A Likud miniser sparked outrage in the Knesset Plenum Tuesday evening after he made disparaging remarks against women, two days before the world marks International Women’s Day.
“If you continued to whine, you won’t be leaders,” Minister of Science, Technology and Space Ofir Akunis said as he launched into a controversial tirade that triggered a commotion in the session.
“Should I repeat the list of women who made their mark on international leadership in the 20th century? To be a feminist does not mean constantly saying ‘they did this or that to me.’ It is to do,” he said.
According to Akunis, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley was an example of a female leader. “Learn from her what leadership is,” he told the female MKs.
Turning to Kulanu MK Rachel Azaria, the minister said: “Stop it already. Change your old ways.”
Other MKs in the plenary session did not shy away from making their contempt for Akunis abundantly clear.
“This is terrible and even more unfortunate … Akunis chooses to shirk any semblance of statehood even in a festive and symbolic discussion marking International Women’s Day and calls women whiners. What a shame,” scathed Yesh Atid MK Aliza Lavie.
“It’s shameful and disgraceful to call women whiners in Israel in 2018,” added MK Yehiel "Hilik" Bar from the Zionist Union.
“It’s a statement of privilege, a man from Tel Aviv, that is suitable for the Middle Ages or 1950s Israel. Similar terminology was used against the sephardim. Disgrace. I urge you to apologize.”
Chairwoman of the Na'amat Israeli women's organization also joined the outcry against Akunis, demonstrating her disdain for the remarsk.
“This is how a minister in Israel chooses to speak as we approach International Women’s Day,” she lamented. “Akunis’s miserable and ignorant statements are full of hatred toward women. The prime minister must make his voice heard, repudiate his minister’s statements and to clarify that this is not a governmental position.”