Wheelchair-bound IDF vet latest Israeli to set himself ablaze

Israelis, holding torches, attend a demonstration in Tel Aviv
 on July 21, 2012, in memory of Moshe Silman 

A disabled Israeli Defense Forces veteran has self-immolated, sustaining burns to 80 per cent of his body. The incident follows the death of IDF veteran Moshe Silman, who sparked a series of similar protests by setting himself ablaze last week.

The Disabled IDF Veterans' Association says financial woes compelled the veteran to take the desperate measure.

"The bodies that are supposed to support him, i.e. the Defense Ministry and National Insurance Institute have failed him,” the organization’s spokesman told Ynet News. “I'm afraid over 50,000 IDF veterans share his frustration."

The self-immolation took place hours before the funeral of Moshe Silman, an IDF veteran who died on Friday of burns he sustained during a massive demonstration the previous week. Silman had also set himself ablaze, suffering third-degree burns to over 95 per cent of his body.

In a letter which Silman read out before setting himself alight, he accused the Israeli establishment of "taking from the poor and giving to the rich." He also said that despite being incapable of working due to a stroke, a housing ministry committee did not find him eligible for public housing benefits.

Since then, at least five more self-immolation cases have been reported in Israel, with Sunday’s incident being the most serious since Silman.


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