Activist Silman who set self on fire dies of wounds

57-year-old who self-immolated at Tel Aviv social justice protest succumbs to injuries at Sheba Medical Center.

July 20, 2012 16:06
1 minute read.
Moshe Silman, who set hemself afire in Tel Aviv.

Self-immolator Tel Aviv fire protester Moshe Silman 390. (photo credit: Asaf Kliger)

Moshe Silman, the man who was critically wounded when he lit himself on fire at a social justice protest in Tel Aviv last week, succumbed to his wounds at Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer on Friday.

Silman, a 57-year-old Haifa resident, had recently been recognized as 100 percent disabled by the National Insurance Institute (NII), but was receiving only NIS 2,300 in state benefits and was informed recently that he was not eligible for government housing. He was facing eviction in less than two weeks from the apartment where he had been living for free over the past year

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Silman poured flammable material over his clothes and body and lit himself with a burning object at the social justice demonstration on Saturday.

Other protesters threw water on him in an effort to douse the flames.

Paramedics rushed him to the Sourasky Medical Center in serious condition, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said. Silman suffered second- and third-degree burns all over his body and was in serious condition, one paramedic said.

Before setting himself on fire, Silman handed out copies of a letter in which he blamed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz for his economic hardships.

Describing them as villains, Silman said he received no rent assistance despite suffering a stroke recently and no longer being able to work at all.

He went on to name officials at the Housing Ministry and the National Insurance Institute who he said made his life impossible. Eventually, the letter said, he received NIS 2,300 a month in disability benefits, from which he must pay for health insurance and buy medicines.

“I have no money for medicine or rent... I served in the army, and until the age of 46 I served in the reserves,” the letter read. “I will not be homeless, that’s why I’m protesting against all the injustices done to me and those like me by the state.

Ruth Eglash, Yaakov Lappin, Michael Omer-Man and Gil Shefler contributed to this report.

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