MK Ruth Calderon
MK Ruth CalderonYoni Kempinski

MK Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) apologized on Thursday evening to MK Ruth Calderon (Yesh Atid), after he told her to “shut up” during a heated Knesset debate on Wednesday.

Calderon, who wrote about Gafni’s apology on her Facebook page, pointed out that the way things are debated in the Knesset affects the Israeli discourse.

"Verbal abuse undermines the democratic tools needed to hold a real debate," Calderon wrote. "I hope we can now have a real dialogue," she added.

The background to Wednesday’s altercation involved a demand by hareidi MKs to sever the tie between funding for hareidi educational institutions in the Arrangements Law – which covers funding for projects and institutions not covered by the state budget, such as hareidi schools – and the government's demand that those schools teach basic skills in math, language, and English.

Hareidi MKs and rabbinical leaders are generally opposed to this requirement, which was proposed by Yesh Atid MKs and is currently part of the proposed Arrangements Law.

Gafni, representing hareidi MKs of UTJ and Shas, said that including such a tenet in the law was inappropriate at this time, claiming that Yesh Atid would not be in the Knesset much longer “and will not sit in the next Knesset.”

In response, Calderon criticized Gafni for his comments, accusing him of spreading baseless hatred just one day after Tisha B'av.

Gafni responded by telling Calderon that she does not have to listen to him if she does not wish to do so. The two then entered a heated exchange, with other MKs chiming in and Gafni eventually telling Calderon to “shut up, shut your mouth.”

In her Facebook post, Calderon reiterated that she has no intention of deliberately hurting the hareidim.

"Neither Yesh Atid nor I intend to harm hareidim; we wish to allow a future in which all citizens of Israel will bear the burden together," Calderon wrote.

“Yesh Atid is proud to be part of a coalition that keeps its word and ensures that all Israeli citizens will have the tools to support themselves as full partners in rights and duties,” she added.