'Women sit in cockpits, they can sit anywhere'

Netanyahu, Barak slam discrimination against women at IAF ceremony in which 5 female soldiers become pilots.

Netanyahu 311 (photo credit: Avi Ohayon/GPO)
Netanyahu 311
(photo credit: Avi Ohayon/GPO)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Thursday reiterated his opposition to discrimination against women, citing the five female soldiers graduating from the Israel Air Force pilot's course as an example of women's equality.
Speaking at the IAF pilot's course graduation ceremony at the Hatzerim Air Force Base in the Negev, Netanyahu said that "in the State of Israel, in which women sit in the cockpit, women can sit in any place."
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The prime minister's comments came amid controversy surrounding the exclusion of women in the public sphere in the haredi (ultra-Orthodox) community. In the most recent incident, a haredi resident of Jerusalem was indicted for sexual harassment on Thursday after allegedly shouting a sexual slur at a female IDF soldier who refused to heed his request that she move to the back of a bus.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak also addressed the pilot's course graduates, taking pride in the fact that five of the graduates were women.
"You strengthen and empower the whole society, well done," Barak said to the course's female graduates. "Women are part of our society, more than half of it, and all of us, religious and secular alike, must not only treat them with respect, but also must understand that equality is a natural-born right.