Israeli protester who set himself on fire dies

(JTA) — Moshe Silman, who set himself on fire during a Tel Aviv rally, died after succumbing to second- and third-degree burns.

Silman, 57, had poured gasoline on his body and set himself on fire during a July 14 demonstration marking the one-year anniversary of the Israeli social protest movement. Protesters’ calls include more government assistance in housing and social services.

He owed money to the Tax Authority and to the National Insurance Institute of Israel, and his payments had 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 able to collect minimal disability, according to Israeli reports.

Silman, who was burned on more than 90 percent of his body, died last Friday at Sheba Medical Center in Tel Aviv’s Tel Hashomer Hospital.

He had 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 letter added, “The State of Israel stole from me and robbed me. It left me helpless.”

 
 
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