Protester sets himself alight
Moshe Silman suffered third-degree burns to 80% of his body, after setting himself alight during last night's social protest in Tel Aviv.
"We'll know if he will survive within 48 hours. He has burns over 80% of his body. There are risks of complications with lungs, kidneys, and heart, which will not survive with his burns. I was at Tel Hashomer all night, Silman's niece, Cheli, told “IDF Radio" (Galei Zahal) today.
"He didn’t have money for food. He went to Amidar on Thursday and said, 'In another week, I'll have nowhere to live. I'll be on the street.' They told him 'When you're living on the street, outside, then come to us'. He had a haulage business which got into financial difficulties."
Cheli said that Silman's family learned what he had done through the media. "I wish to say that this was a foul-up. A journalist, I don’t remember who, called my mother, and that's how we learned about it. She said, 'Your brother set himself alight at the protest in Tel Aviv.'"
“IDF Radio": You hadn’t seen the reports on the news before that?
Cheli: "No. I knew that he had such thoughts. He was always talking about how hard it was for him in this country, that no one would help him. My mother and her sister would help him, bringing him some food and money, and buying him medication."
Did he talk about doing something so extreme?
"My aunt told me that, on Friday, she said that he might do it, and she told him, 'don’t go.'"
Cheli concluded, "It's hard to live in this country. I think that every second household feels that."
According to reports this morning, Silman's debt to the Tax Authority for non-payment of income taxes and National Insurance was not great, about NIS 15,000, but procedural errors and lost court cases against the authorities caused the debt to balloon. Silman owned a small delivery service, and could not meet the debt. The problem fed on itself, resulting in the loss of his apartment, which he owned.
In a letter left behind, Silman said, "The State of Israel stole from me and robbed me, leaving me with nothing. The District Court prevented me from getting justice. I could not even obtain aid for rent. Two Ministry of Housing committees rejected me, even though I suffered a stroke and have 100% disability. I accuse the State of Israel, hateful [Prime Minister Benjamin] Bibi Netanyahu and [Minister of Finance Yuval] Steinitz for the humiliation that the country's poor undergo every day. They take from the poor and give to the rich and the government employees… I have no money for medication or rent, and nothing to start the month after paying millions in taxes. I served in the army until I was 46, I served in the reserves, and I will not be homeless!"
10,000 people participated in yesterday's protest opposite the government complex in Tel Aviv. The demonstration included groups from a range of movements and factions, including the union, Koach La Ovdim, Dear Israel, the baby carriage protestors, social workers and medical interns.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on July 15, 2012
© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2012
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