Protester self-immolation ´tragedy´: Israel PM (AFP) AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE) 07/15/12)
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Israel´s premier and president on Sunday offered a protester who set
himself alight their wishes for a speedy recovery, with Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calling the incident a "personal tragedy."
Moshe Silman, who set himself ablaze at a social justice
demonstration in the city of Tel Aviv on Saturday night, was said
Sunday to be fighting for his life after suffering extensive burns.
"I wish Moshe Silman a full recovery, this is a huge personal
tragedy," Netanyahu said in remarks published on his Facebook page.
In a letter he read out before setting himself on fire, Silman blamed
Netanyahu and the Israeli establishment for "stealing" from him,
saying they had "left him with nothing." Netanyahu´s comments on
Sunday made no reference to the accusations.
"I accuse the state of Israel, Netanyahu and (Finance Minister) Yuval
Steinitz, the bastards, for the humiliation that the weakened
citizens of Israel endure on a daily basis," the letter said.
"They take from the poor to give to the rich."
Local media reported that Silman, 58, had been living for the past
year in the northern city Haifa and was the owner of a trucking
business that was sold off due to debts.
According to his letter, he recently suffered a stroke that left him
incapable of working, but housing ministry committees did not find
him eligible for public housing benefits.
President Shimon Peres said that "along with all the people of
Israel, I am praying for Moshe Silman´s recovery."
In a statement Sunday morning Peres noted that Silman´s condition
was "extremely serious." Silman was being treated in the burns unit
at Tel Hashomer hospital near Tel Aviv.
The Saturday night demonstrations, which drew approximately 8,000
people in Tel Aviv, Haifa and Jerusalem, were to mark the first
anniversary of mass protests against the spiralling cost of living.
The protest movement began last summer, with activists seeking
reforms that would make food, housing and education more affordable.
But many feel that government promises to enact economic reforms have
not been kept. (Copyright © 2012 Agence France Presse. 07/15/12)
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