Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during an event raising awareness about violence against women accidentally says that “women are animals… with rights.” The meeting was held ahead of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and at a time when Israel has seen a spate of cases of women being murdered by their partners. Violence against women in Israel has driven recent protests calling for reform.
The Netanyahu family famously adopted a rescue dog, Kaia, who made headlines for biting several people, including the prime minister. “So, if we are compassionate toward animals — women are animals. Children are animals. Animals with rights and this matter need to pass from the world and I hope we don’t see these shocking things,” he said. The Prime Minister’s Office later released a statement in response to reports of the incident, which it said were distorted. “Prime Minister Netanyahu, who spoke from the bottom of his heart today about women’s rights and against any violation of them, only gave an example of abuse in a small part of his speech when he also spoke about harm to animals, but in no way intended to compare them,” the statement said.