An Israeli protester, who set himself ablaze on Saturday night in the city of Tel Aviv, is fighting for his life after suffering extensive burns.
Moshe Silman poured gasoline on his body and set himself on fire during a social justice demonstration. He was sent to Sheba Medical Center early on Sunday.
Israeli President Shimon Peres said in a statement on Sunday that Silman’s condition was “extremely serious,” AFP reported.
The 58-year-old man is in critical condition due to 90 percent burns.
Silman decided to immolate himself after he suffered from financial difficulties and all his hopes were dashed.
The victim, in a letter which he read out before setting himself on fire, said Israel “stole from me and robbed me. It left me helpless.”
He also blamed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz for the “humiliation” that “the weakened” Israelis went through every day, and accused the officials of “taking from the poor and giving to the rich.”
“I can’t afford medication or rent. I paid millions in taxes, I served in the army and in the reserves until I was 46. I won’t be homeless and that is why I am protesting against all the wrongs Israel imposes on people like me,” the letter said.
Peres and Netanyahu on Sunday offered Silman their wishes for a speedy recovery.
“I wish Moshe Silman a full recovery, this is a huge personal tragedy,” Netanyahu said in remarks published on his Facebook page.
More than 10,000 people took to the streets in several locations across Israel on Saturday to mark the first anniversary of the social justice protests.
Activist Ofer Barkan said that Silman was an activist in last year’s protests.
“He was a completely normative person, who lived in Tel Aviv, but then his business went under. He became a cab driver and suffered a stroke, which left him unemployed. He moved from Tel Aviv to Haifa” in the north of Israel, unable to afford the costs of living,” Barkan said.
Hundreds of thousands of people demonstrated and set up protest camps across Israel during the demonstrations last summer. Angry at the high costs of living and social inequalities, the protesters had called for Netanyahu’s resignation.
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