Akiva Mapiai, the disabled IDF veteran who set himself on fire in Yehud
in July, died of his wounds at Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer Tuesday night.
Mapiai became disabled in a training accident at age 23, at the IDF Ground Forces Command’s Tze’elim training base in the western Negev.
In recent weeks, he told his siblings he had despaired of fighting for rehabilitation rights and other benefits as a disabled veteran from the Defense Ministry and social welfare services.
After falling into heavy debt, Mapiai decided to emulate Moshe Silman, the Haifa man who set himself on fire at the end of a social justice protest in Tel Aviv on July 14, and died on Friday.
Shlomo Mapiai, Akiva’s brother, said he had been talking in recent days about “doing what Silman did.”
Mapiai threatened suicide in the past because of the “impossible bureaucracy” involved in dealing with the Defense Ministry and social welfare authorities, the brother said.
He took part in IDF veteran rallies and hired a lawyer to help him get his benefits, a move that ended up getting him into heavy debt.
Earlier on Tuesday, another man tried to set himself on fire in Jerusalem outside the National Insurance Building to protest his dire economic situation.
The man had doused himself with flammable liquid on Ben Sira around 12:30pm. A nearby policeman realized what was happening and tackled the man to keep him from lighting any kind of flame.
The man was the sixth self-immolation attempt since Moshe Silman set himself on fire on July 14 and died of his injuries a week later.
The other self-immolation attempts were halted before they ignited the fire. Yaakov Lappin and Melanie Lidman contributed to this report.
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