More acts of self-immolation on horizon, IDF veterans group warns
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More acts of self-immolation on horizon, IDF veterans group warns

Organization calls on leaders to intervene after disabled veteran lights self on fire

An Israeli woman holds a candle at a memorial march for Moshe Silman (photo credit: Miriam Alster/FLASH90)
An Israeli woman holds a candle at a memorial march for Moshe Silman (photo credit: Miriam Alster/FLASH90)

Hours after a disabled military veteran set himself on fire, a support organization said there may be more such acts if support services are not overhauled.

Akiva Mapay, a resident of Bareket in central Israel, set himself on fire in Yehud Sunday, suffering burns on 80 percent of his body. The wheelchair bound-vet was reportedly distraught over state bureaucracy.

In a press release, the IDF Disabled Veterans Organization said further acts of self-immolation were imminent if what they described as a policy of neglect towards IDF veterans continues. The statement urged to citizens “call on the prime minister and defense minister to intervene before it’s too late.”

“This is a tragic incident but we suspect it is not the last case in which a man who has despaired of social services attempts to take his own life,” read the statement. “Many disabled veterans have been abandoned by the system and their benefits curtailed unilaterally.”

Israel has seen a wave of attempted self-immolations since social activist Moshe Silman set himself on fire during a protest in Tel Aviv last Saturday night. Silman died Friday after suffering burns over 94% of his body.

Since then at least three people have threatened to light themselves on fire, but were stopped by passersby.

Social protest leader Daphni Leef called on Israelis not to resort to such acts. “These are acts born of despair, surrender and resignation in the face of cruel mechanisms and criminal bureaucracy.”

Ron Friedman contributed to this report.

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