Sunday, July 15, 2012

Moshe Silman Self-Immolation Mobilizes New Protests Against Israel

Here's a follow up to my entry from last night, "'Social Justice' Protester Self-Immolates in Tel Aviv."

Here's a new clip with a different angle:

And here's the latest at the Jeruselem Post, "Protesters attempt to set National Insurance Institute (NII) on fire." And at Haaretz, "Hundreds of Israelis protest state's social policy, in wake of self-immolation."

And here's the editorial at JPost, "Emulating immolation?":
Moshe Silman, 58, was hospitalized in Tel Hashomer on Saturday night in critical condition. He is suffering burns on over 90 percent of his body after he doused himself with fuel and lit himself on fire during a social protest in Tel Aviv.

Doctors fear that the severe damage to most of his skin will result in kidney and liver collapse and other complications that will keep him in a life-threatening state for the near future. We join in prayers for his speedy recovery.

Silman’s personal story – including his self-immolation – is a tragedy. In 2002, his shipping and delivery company went bankrupt after one of his four trucks was confiscated as collateral for an outstanding loan. After suffering a stroke, he was left partially handicapped, making it nearly impossible for him to work. For a variety of complex psychological and social reasons, Silman had supreme difficulty dealing with the setbacks in his life.

Silman’s case raises ethical issues regarding the limitations of our welfare state. No matter how extensive the social aid provided by the state – this one or any other – there will always be individuals like Silman who will somehow fall through the safety net. More specifically, since Silman’s immediate concern was housing, perhaps renewed efforts can be invested in implementing the long-term housing reforms recommended by the Trajtenberg Committee.

Improving public transportation so that commuting from outlying areas, where real estate prices are lower, becomes more feasible and streamlining the process of rezoning state land for construction were two recommendations. A reexamination of public housing or state-subsidized mortgages might also be in order.

Silman’s tragedy should also spark debate about the increasing atomization of Israeli society. Was Silman so devoid of support from friends, family and the community that he opted for suicide?

But, as opposition leader Shelly Yechimovich warned, Silman’s self-immolation “cannot be used as an example or inspiration for youth or adults, and it certainly must not be seen as a symbol of the social protest.”
Well, it already has become a symbol of social protest.

See the Independent UK, "Israel's man on fire is symbol of economic injustice." Also at International Business Times, "Israel: Self-Immolation of Moshe Silman Could Define Social Movement."

There's a big roundup at Vice, "I SAW A MAN BURNING ALIVE ON THE STREETS OF TEL AVIV."