Moshe Silman, the homeless man who set himself on fire at a Tel Aviv rally last weekend, died on Friday afternoon at the Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer after succumbing to the burns which covered over 90 percent of his body.
Silman, a Haifa resident in his 50s, had set fire to himself at a demonstration marking the one-year anniversary of the Israeli social protest movement.
Silman was homeless and had been living in Tel Aviv’s tent city for three weeks before immolating himself in front of a large crowd.
Silman walked out of a building on Kaplan Street and read aloud a suicide note. He then passed out copies of the note before dousing himself with flammable liquid and setting his body on fire.
Nearby demonstrators threw water on Silman, and he was taken by Magen David Adom crews to Tel Aviv’s Sourasky Medical Center in critical condition.
Silman was later transferred to the Sheba Medical Center. On Sunday morning, the director of the burn unit, Dr. Yossi Haik, said Silman was in critical condition and in danger of death, with burns covering over 94 percent of his body.
The note that Silman distributed before setting himself on fire identified him by name and social security number. It stated that he had done his reserve duty for the army until the age of 46, but once he was unable to work, “the State of Israel robbed me of everything and left me with nothing.”
Silman added that “two committees in the Housing Ministry rejected me and I blame the State of Israel, and those bastards Bibi [Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu] and [Finance Minster Yuval] Steinitz, for the humiliation that disabled citizens experience every day, for taking from the poor and giving to the rich.”
Silman, who owned a shipping business, began experiencing financial difficulties about 10 years ago.
Friends of Silman said he had threatened to do something drastic for some time, even explicitly mentioning to some that he intended to set himself on fire. According to friends, “he refused to be homeless.”