Israeli man sets himself on fire during protest: “State of Israel stole from me and robbed me!”
July 15, 2012 (TSR) – An Israeli protester sets himself on fire during a demonstration in Tel Aviv, saying Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is accountable for the poor condition of people.
The 57-year-old man identified as Moshe Silman poured gasoline on his body and set himself on fire on Saturday. He was sent to Sheba Medical Center early on Sunday, Haaretzreported.
Silman is in critical condition due to 90 percent burns.
The incident happened after he went broke and all his hopes were dashed. In 2000, he fell into debt for his insurance and that was the beginning of his economic troubles.
The victim, in a letter left behind at the scene, said “The state of Israel stole from me and robbed me. It left me helpless.”
“Two Housing and Construction Ministry committees rejected me, even though I had a stroke.”
He also blamed Netanyahu and Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz for the “humiliation” that “the weakened” Israelis went through every day, and accused the officials of “taking from the poor and giving to the rich.”
In the letter, he blames “the state of Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, for the humiliation that the weakened citizens go through every day, taking from the poor and giving to the rich.
“I can’t afford medication or rent. I paid millions in tax, I served in the army and in the reserves until I was 46. I won’t be homeless and that is why I am protesting against all the wrongs the state imposes on people like me,” he wrote.
Thousands of people took to the streets in several locations across the Occupied Territories on Saturday to mark the first anniversary of the social justice protests that swept the territories last year.
Activist Ofer Barkan, an activist from Haifa, told Haaretz said that the man was an activist in last year’s protests.
“He was a completely normative person, who lived in Tel Aviv, but then his business went under. He became a cab driver and suffered a stroke, which left him unemployed. He moved from Tel Aviv to Haifa” in the north of the Occupied Territories, unable to afford the costs of living,” Barkan said.
Hundreds of thousands of people marched and set up protest camps across the Occupied Territories during the demonstrations last summer. Angry at the high costs of living and social inequalities, the protesters called for Netanyahu’s resignation.
Activists say that last year’s rallies have failed to change the situation.