Israeli self-immolation protester dies of injuries
July 22, 2012
An Israeli protester who set himself alight during a social justice demonstration last weekend died of his injuries on Friday, media reported.
Moshe Silman, 57, set himself ablaze at a demonstration in the city of Tel Aviv on Saturday night and suffered extensive burns. He died at Tel Hashomer hospital near Tel Aviv, media said.
In a letter he read out before setting himself on fire, Silman, reportedly the owner of a trucking business was sold because of debts, blamed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the establishment for “stealing” from him and leaving him “with nothing.”
“I accuse the state of Israel, Netanyahu and (Finance Minister) Yuval Steinitz, the bastards, for the humiliation that the weakened citizens of Israel endure on a daily basis,” the letter said.
“They take from the poor to give to the rich.”
On Sunday, Netanyahu called the self-immolation “a huge personal tragedy” and wished Silman a “full recovery.”
President Shimon Peres said the same day that “along with all the people of Israel, I am praying for Moshe Silman’s recovery.”
Media reported that Silman had been living for the past year in the northern city of Haifa and had owned a trucking business that was sold due to debt.
According to his letter, he recently suffered a stroke that left him incapable of working, but housing ministry committees did not find him eligible for public housing benefits.
Saturday night’s demonstrations, which drew approximately 8,000 people in Tel Aviv, Haifa and Jerusalem, were held to mark the first anniversary of mass protests against the spiraling cost of living.
The protest movement began last summer, with activists seeking reforms that would make food, housing and education more affordable.
Many Israelis feel that government promises to enact economic reforms have not been kept.