Man sets himself on fire at protest in Tel AvivSubmitted by PWA on Sun, 07/15/2012 - 19:57
An Israeli man was rushed to the hospital this evening (Saturday) after he set himself on fire at the end of a march calling for social justice in central Tel Aviv.
According to police estimates, some 10,000 people marched, marking the first anniversary of the J14 movement’s inception. After an otherwise uneventful march that culminated on Kaplan St., a man in his 50s distributed several copies of a typed letter, poured gasoline on himself, and torched his clothing.
Those present on the scene succeeded in extinguishing the fire before ambulances arrived and rushed him to nearby Ichilov Hospital. He was photographed eating a popsicle before being whisked away, though later reports described his condition as serious. He was later moved to the larger Tel Hashomer Hospital.
The letter he distributed details his financial, housing and health difficulties, along with his anger at the state “for the humiliation that disenfranchised citizens go through day in and day out, that take from the poor and give to the rich.” A 2008 account on the Israeli financial site “Economist” surfaced online following the incident, and appears to detail some of his troubles: according to the text, the man sued the National Insurance Institute after it seized his five trucks, which he used to run a delivery company, over a NIS 5,000 debt. The result, he claimed in the suit, was the collapse of his business and ultimate financial ruin.