A country cannot be run according to feminist considerations, Senior Citizens Minister Uri Orbach posited Monday, defending earlier statements that women should not serve in IDF combat units.

On Sunday, during a meeting led by Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Culture and Sport Minister Limor Livnat in which ministers discussed plans to reduce discrimination against women, Orbach said that equality does not always help women.

According to Orbach, separating genders could, in some cases, be helpful. He pointed to the army as an example of such a case, saying that the physical differences between men and women make men better in combat positions and that male combat soldiers are needed for the army to win.

“What do you want women to do, to serve coffee?” Livni and Livnat asked him.

On Monday, Orbach was unapologetic, telling Army Radio: “There is no argument that women can be good fighters, but the question is can the system invest in finding female combat soldiers. To find just one, it needs to examine 100-200 girls.

“There are enough people in the army who agree with me,” he added. “We can’t change war to suit women, we’d have to change women to fight in a war.”

According to Orbach, “we cannot run the country only according to feminist considerations; we cannot force all of our values on the army.”

The Bayit Yehudi minister said that his statements are not based on religious belief but on common sense.

“A country must act based on feminist considerations, because this determines what country we will be – an advanced country in all fields employing social justice and equality,” Na’amat, the Movement of Working Women & Volunteers, said in a statement released to The Jerusalem Post on Monday.

“Today when governments are acting under gender mainstreaming practices, to make comments like these when we are trying to bridge gender gaps takes us back many years. We will continue to operate in the exact opposite direction and we will continue to demand that every action taken by the government will take into consideration equality for all sectors,” the statement said.

Regarding service in IDF combat forces: “The IDF is a part of the country and it is in the interest of the army and the state to open up more opportunities for women.”

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