Israeli sets self on fire days after burns victim dies
JERUSALEM — A wheelchair-bound Israeli was in serious condition on Sunday after setting himself on fire just hours before the funeral of a man who had set himself alight during a social justice protest on July 14.
“A man in a wheelchair set himself on fire at a bus stop near Yehud” near Tel Aviv, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AFP.
“Passersby put out the flames. The man, in his late forties, was in serious condition, he was taken to the Sheba hospital in Tel HaShomer,” he said.
“From what we know, he set himself on fire,” Rosenfeld said, indicating that an investigation was under way.
Sunday’s apparent self-immolation, carried out by a man who is reportedly a disabled Israeli army veteran, took place just hours before the funeral of Moshe Silman.
Silman died on Friday, six days after setting himself ablaze at a Tel Aviv social justice demonstration.
In a letter he read out before setting himself alight, he accused the Israeli establishment of “taking from the poor and giving to the rich.”
He also wrote that despite being incapable of working due to a stroke, a housing ministry committee did not find him eligible for public housing benefits.
Over a thousand Israelis held vigils for Silman in Tel Aviv and other Israeli cities on Saturday night.
“Tonight, we are all Moshe Silman,” they chanted at the site where he doused himself with kerosene and set himself on fire.
Many participants carried candles, an AFP correspondent said.
“By marching we honour the memory of all victims of economic duress and the anti-social policy of the Israeli government” headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the organisers said in a statement.
Silman’s self-immolation set off a wave of similar incidents, with Sunday’s incident marking the fifth such attempt, press reports said.
Sunday’s victim sustained the worst injuries since Silman, with the man sustaining burns over 80 percent of his body.