A social justice protester set himself ablaze Saturday night during a rally in Tel Aviv, blaming government officials for his troubles. He was taken to a city hospital in an intensive care ambulance with severe burns over most of his body.
Two separate rallies were held in Tel Aviv to mark the anniversary of the beginning of the social justice protest movement, with marches held also in Jerusalem and Haifa.
Thousands of people participated in one of the rallies, which culminated in a large demonstration outside government offices on Kaplan Street. Protesters called for more social justice and better transportation, and held signs in support of the LGBT community and African migrants.
Prior to lighting the match, the Haifa resident handed out copies of a letter in which he called top government leaders “villains” and said he received no rent subsidy although he could not work after a recent stroke.
"I have no money for medicine or rent,” the letter read. “I served in the army and until the age of 46 I served in the reserves. I will not be homeless; that is why I am protesting against all the injustices done to me, and those like me, by the state.”
According to the letter, he now receives NIS 2,300 in monthly disability benefits from which he pays for kupat holim (HMO) and buy medication and other necessities.
Israelis who receive disability status also are eligible to receive substantial discounts on their property taxes and public transportation, among other benefits.
In the letter he named Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz specifically for his economic problems.