A Charedi member of the Knesset has sparked a backlash by saying that he would "donate clothes" to Israeli pop star Noa Kirel
Moshe Gafni, a leader of United Torah Judaism who heads the Knesset Finance Committee, spoke during a Knesset debate on the budget.
Facing criticism for increasing the budgets of Charedi schools, Gafni hit out at opposition parliamentarians and defended the Strictly Orthodox education system.
Referring to a school his granddaughter attends “All the core subjects are studied there and she works in high-tech. But there are people sitting here who say she doesn’t deserve it…. She learns not only the core curriculum, chemistry, algebra, she also learns about Judaism. And still receives only half the budget [per pupil that state schools get]. Why?” he said.
He added that she didn’t learn about Kirel. “So what? Because of that she doesn’t deserve a budget?"
He then continued about Kirel saying: "I would’ve donated her some clothes so that she would have a little more.”
Gafni’s comments elicited swift pushback from opposition voices.
MK Meirav Ben-Ari of the Yesh Atid Party said, “MK Gafni made a repulsive comment directed at Noa Kirel…. And I ask you, why does he even interfere with what Noa wears? Why is it his business?”
Haaretz writer Chaim Levinson also questioned how Gafni was aware of Kirel's outfit given the ban on pictures of women in Charedi newspapers, saying: “How did Gafni know what Noa Kirel was wearing? Was there a picture in [Haredi newspaper] Yated Ne’eman?”
Hagit Pe’er, who heads Na’amat, a women’s organization affiliated with the Labor Zionist movement, said, “While Noa Kirel represents the beautiful face of Israel to the world, Gafni makes sure that he reminds the world of the darkness we won’t allow here. Noa—you are amazing, strong and empowering. You’ll probably get along just fine without Gafni.”