'Riki Cohen' Is Still Making Trouble for Yair Lapid on Facebook

After a passionate post in which the new finance minister used 'Riki Cohen' of Hadera to illustrate the plight of the average middle class family, a member of the public informed Lapid that the average wage per couple is NIS 12,000, not NIS 20,000 as he had written.

Finance Minister Yair Lapid has had another embarrassing confrontation on Facebook.

After he published a post on the social-networking site using "the Cohen family" as an example of a middle-class couple struggling to make ends meet on a combined average wage of NIS 20,000 a month, users have criticized him for citing figures higher than the actual national average.

On Thursday, Lapid tried to explain why he had stipulated a relatively high salary for a couple meant to represent the middle class.

"You're a disgrace! You try living on NIS 4,500 a month," wrote an angry Facebook user, Ella Voloshin in a comment to the original post. "Go back to where you came from, because there you did less damage to the country."

In response, Lapid wrote, "The average salary is NIS 9,509. The average gross salary for a couple is around NIS 20,000. That leaves Rikki [Cohen] and her husband around NIS 14,000 [after taxes], and if they're paying off a mortgage and raising three children it's not going to be easy for them. I agree that there are people who are much worse off, but without a strong middle class that pays taxes, how will we help the weak? With what money?"  

Another user, Oriel Borer, used the same online conversation thread to explain to Lapid that his calculation was far from realistic.

"The anger comes down to the fact that you still don't understand," he wrote. "The average salary for a man and the average salary for a woman are different. A woman earns 30 percent less than a man (on average). The Central Bureau of Statistics, which should be as accessible to you as it is to me, checked the average wage of a couple: NIS 12,345, not 'around NIS 20,000.' If I managed to find this out on Google then so should you. Add to this the fact, which you know as well, that 70 percent earn **less** than the average wage."

Borer added, with a mix of amusement and frustration that a citizen should have to give basic advice to the finance minister, "If you want any more explanations like these, feel free to contact me or anyone else here on your wall."

Eran Wolkowski