Self Immolation 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
A disabled IDF veteran succumbed to his wounds on Tuesday night, a week and a
half after he set himself on fire to protest his financial
Akiva Mapiai, 45, is the second Israeli to die of
self-inflicted burns in recent weeks.
The wheelchair-bound Mapiai poured
gasoline on his body at a bus station outside Yehud on July 22 and was rushed to
Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer, suffering severe burns across 70 percent
of his body. He was disabled at age 23 during a training accident while
performing reserve duty.
He was never married and had no
His family said that he had tired of fighting with the Defense
Ministry and the social welfare services to receive benefits and was in heavy debt. His brother said Mapiai had expressed a desire to follow in the
footsteps of Moshe Silman, who died on July 20 after setting himself on fire at
the end of a social justice demonstration in Tel Aviv six days
In a letter he handed out on the street before he set himself
ablaze, Silman said, “The State of Israel robbed me and stole from me, leaving
me with nothing.”
Silman said he had not been able to get help finding an
apartment and that he had been denied such assistance twice. He was facing
possible homelessness when he decided to kill himself.
“I blame the State
of Israel, and the bastards [Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu and [Finance
Minister Yuval] Steinitz, for the humiliation suffered by weak citizens every
day, for taking from the poor to give to the rich and state employees,” he said
in his letter.
Several similar attempts at suicide by fire followed
Silman’s act, including a Kfar Saba man who was stopped by a police officer as
he tried to set himself on fire at a National Insurance Institute branch in the
city on Tuesday. Later in the day, a police officer also stopped a Jerusalem man
who was trying to set himself on fire outside an NII branch in the capital.