The Middle Class in Israel

The controversy over the question whether “Riki Cohen from Hadera” – to whom Finance Minister Yair Lapid referred on his Facebook page – belongs to the middle class has made it necessary to redefine the boundaries of the three classes in Israeli society. Many saw the social protest movement of summer 2011 as attesting to the unification of the middle class in Israel, but the question remains: What is the middle class, and how ought it to be defined? Is the keyword here “class,” i.e., individuals who share a similar social status, or is the reference to those in the middle of the income distribution, namely the only attribute that unites the individuals belonging to it is income level? The difficulty in identifying and precisely defining the middle class may explain the fact that this article does not focus on any particular definition, but examines the development of the middle class in Israel over the past decade, with reference to a variety of aspects and employing a selection of measuring tools.