A Likud minister sparked controversy on Tuesday when he accused female MKs of complaining and then told them to take lessons about leadership from US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley. His remarks were condemned by MKs from across the political spectrum.
Israeli Science, Technology and Space Minister Ofir Akunis Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90
Israeli Science, Technology and Space Minister Ofir Akunis (Likud) sparked controversy when he complained about female MKs on Tuesday—two days before International Women’s Day. “If you continue to whine, there won’t be any female leaders,” he said as he stood on the Knesset podium. “There are female leaders who did great things because they didn’t settle for words and took action.”
According to Akunis, feminists today complain when they should be trying to lead. “In my opinion, [US Ambassador to the UN] Nikki Haley is a leader. Learn from her about leadership,” he told the female MKs in the room.
Akunis’ comments sparked outrage in the Knesset hall. “A short lesson—over the years, the women whom you are calling ‘whiners’ were the ones who changed history,” Zionist Union MK Revital Swid wrote on Twitter. “Your remark demonstrates why we still need to mark International Women’s Day in 2018.”
MKs from the coalition also condemned Akunis’ speech. “Can some tell me what happened to Ofir Akunis, who really said during a speech in the Knesset hall for International Women’s Day that women cry[?]” Rachel Azaria (Kulanu) wrote on Twitter. “This I wasn’t expecting.”