Israeli Man Sets Himself on Fire in Tel Aviv Protest

By Olivia Katrandjian

Jul 14, 2012 9:54pm

An Israeli protester is in serious condition after he poured gasoline on himself and lit himself on fire during a social demonstration today in Tel Aviv.

The 52-year-old left a letter at the scene that states, “The state of Israel stole from me and robbed me. It left me helpless.”

“Two Housing and Construction Ministry committees rejected me, even though I had a stroke.”

In the letter, he blames “the state of Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, for the humiliation that the weakened citizens go through every day, taking from the poor and giving to the rich.

“I can’t afford medication or rent. I paid millions in tax, 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 the state imposes on people like me,” he wrote.

Thousands demonstrated in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa and several other Israeli cities today to mark the one-year anniversary of the social protests.

Ofer Barkan, an activist from Haifa, told Haaretz that the man was an activist in last year’s protests and he had threatened to set himself on fire several times.

“We met him last summer. He was a completely normative person who lived in Tel Aviv, but then his business went under,” Barkan said. “He became a cab driver and suffered a stroke which left him unemployed. He moved from Tel Aviv to Haifa because he could not afford life in the city.”

According to Haaretz, protesters will hold a rally for the man Sunday in Haifa.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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