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Echoes of the Arab Spring in Tel Aviv as anti-austerity protestors set themelves on fire

Moshe Silman, a 57 year old protester, set himself alight during an anti-cuts protest in Tel-Aviv on Saturday (14th). He saturated himself with petrol and died after recieving burns to 94% of his body. Moshe Silman had joined hundreds of other protesters in Tel-Aviv at a demonstration over the high cost of living. This is reminiscent of the spark that kicked the Arab Spring off when Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire in protest and became a catalyst for the insurgency that followed. Two years ago Moshe Silman was forced to leave Tel-Aviv and move to the northern city of Haifa as he couldn't afford to live in the capital any more. In Haifa he became involved in social protests. The state aid he received due to medical conditions (disabilities from a stroke) didn't cover his medical bills and rent.This was what led to the desperate  act of self arson. More than a thousand people showed up for vigils to Moshe Silman on Saturday(21st).

However this is not where the story ends, as Moshe Silman was laid to rest on Sunday(22nd) a disabled IDF veteran followed his  example and is now in critical condition. Akiva Mafa'i, 45 years old, surrendered his body in desperation at a bus stop in Central Israel. Mafa'i was registered as partially disabled, after a car accident nine years ago whilst volunteering with the Border Police. After the injury, a stroke followed and he was told he couldn't go back to work. From then on he depended on his state aid from the Defense Ministry and the National Insurance Institute. Mafa'i had taken part in a demonstration on Saturday(21st) in front of the National Insurance office in Tel Aviv. The following day he left home at 5am, walked to the bus stop near his home, bought some petrol from a near by gas station and whilst waiting for the bus to arrive set himself aflame.

Desperate people are taking extreme measures as they are discovering that they have given their lives to the state and in their time of need the state throws them out to rot. There have been a total of five attempts to self immolate in protest this week alone. Last summer the Israeli state saw an unparalleled wave of protests over inequality, housing issues and financial woes. Self immolation seems to be the step up this summer.

There is 1 comment on this story...
Added By: Imn - 12th January 2013 @ 6:37 PM
The name Concordia is the problem: Everyone spakes/sings with one tune. A stupid platitude from centuries ago. If everyone thinks alike then no one thinks at all ~Russell The power of their ideals and ideas to change minds fails and violence is their retort.O Lord, give them good and hard, what they ask for. Get exact chronicles of their lives, their sex practices; their sexual promiscuity, their respect for their parents, their support of homosexuality and then let them plead their case and obtain justice before a Taliban council or Iranian fundamentalists, and if they're allowed to live, let them live under their assigned judges laws.Find Israel on a map? How much money is kept in the West Bank? Did Sampson kill innocent Palestinians? Obama wanted to send Arab translators to Afghanistan? The Iranian Empire rebuilt Jerusalem? Jews were in charge in Persia? Make love, not war? When, where?Can't answer the questions? First, fill your empty head with knowledge. Second, are a hundred dolts smarter than one dolt? Did you stop clinging to your parents and start clinging to your parent-substitutes. Who loves you more, your professor or your parents?
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