A social justice protester who set himself on fire at a Tel Aviv demonstration is the victim of "a great and personal tragedy," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, while ordering the relevant ministries to look into the case.
Moshe Silman, 57, of Haifa, poured gasoline on his body and set himself alight Saturday night during a demonstration in Tel Aviv to mark the one-year anniversary of the start of social justice protests last summer.
Silman, who was burned on more than 90 percent of his body and is in serious condition at Sheba Medical Center in Tel Aviv's Tel Hashomer Hospital, left behind a letter in which he blamed “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.”
“The state of Israel stole from me and robbed me. It left me helpless,” his letter said.
Silman owned money to the Tax Authority and to the National Insurance Institute of Israel, but his payments ballooned over procedural errors and lost court cases, according to Ynet. He lost his apartment and was unable to receive public housing, then suffered a stroke but was only able to collect minimal disability, according to Israeli reports.
Some 10,000 demonstrators took part in the Tel Aviv protest Saturday night, with simultaneous protests also taking place in Jerusalem and Haifa.