Israel: Self-immolation protest occurs a second time


Demonstrators march through the streets to protest rising housing costs on July 14, 2012 in Tel Aviv, Israel.


Uriel Sinai

An Israeli war veteran in a wheelchair set himself on fire at a Tel Aviv bus stop today, Reuters reported. Witnesses put out the flames, and the man has survived with serious burns on most of his body. "We have mourned our friends in battle, we don't want to lose them like this," Dudi Gilboa, a member of an Israeli disabled veterans group that knows the man, told Reuters.

The man is the second person to set himself on fire in Israel recently. The self-immolation occurred just hours before the funeral of Moshe Silman, a man who made headlines last week after he set himself on fire and died, BBC News reported. Silman was at a protest against inequality when he set himself ablaze. In a letter he read before the self-immolation, Silman accused Israel of "taking from the poor and giving to the rich."

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While cases of self-immolation are rare in Israel, Silman's actions have inspired four Israelis to attempt to or threaten to self-immolate, police told the Associated Press. In this most self-immolation recent case, the victim, who has not been named, was facing large debts. 

Social justice protests in Tel Aviv have attracted over 10,000 protesters in Tel Aviv, GlobalPost reported, taking a more political tone than last summer's demonstrations.