Daily Israel Report

Protest Outside Lapid's Home Over 'Middle Class' Comment

About 300 people protest outside the home of Finance Minister Yair Lapid, over his definition of the Israeli middle class.
By Arutz Sheva Staff
First Publish: 4/7/2013, 4:45 AM

יאיר לפיד
יאיר לפיד
Israel news photo: Flash 90

About 300 people protested on Saturday night outside the home of Finance Minister Yair Lapid in northern  Tel Aviv.

The protesters, from both the left and right sides of the political map, demonstrated against the expected cuts in child allowances and the expected rise in the VAT.

They held up protest signs which read "fund public housing immediately" and “stop living in a fantasy".

The protesters are also upset at comments Lapid made on Facebook this week, in which he defined the Israeli middle class as 'Riki Cohen' from Hadera, who works as a high school teacher, while her husband holds a mid-level position in a high tech company. Together they earn about 20,000 shekels a month, enough to allow them to travel abroad on a low-cost tour package once every two years, but nowhere enough to enable them to help their three children buy an apartment.

However, this example is of a couple in the top 20% of earners, and Lapid faced heavy criticism by Israelis over the post, since many Israelis earn much less.

Former Knesset Member Dr. Michael Ben-Ari, who took part in Saturday night’s protest, told Arutz Sheva that the demonstration was meant to remind Lapid to also worry about the poor and not only about “middle class Riki Cohen.”

“Lapid only recognizes Ramat Aviv Gimel (a wealthy neighborhood in Tel Aviv). He does not know the reality of housing in Be’er Sheva, Dimona, Akko and Kiryat Shmona. He does not know mothers’ real dilemma of whether to buy cottage cheese or give up on it,” said Ben-Ari.

"We came to remind him that he must take care of the general public. We came to warn - don’t hurt the weak,” he added.