Dying For Justice In Israel
Among developed countries, Israel is one of the world’s most socially, politically and economically unjust. It mocks democratic values and social justice.
In December 2010, Tunisian Mohammed Bouazizi set himself ablaze in front of Sidi Bouzid government offices after police confiscating his merchandise for operating without a permit. He was a street vendor. He sold vegetables. His uncle, Mehdi Horchani, said he
“gave his life to draw attention to his condition and that of his brothers.”
Then and now Arab states have high unemployment, severe poverty, few social benefits, deep-seated corruption and extreme repression enforcing state policy.
Now, two Israeli men have expressed outrage by self-immolation death.
The first, a 58-year-old wheelchair-bound protester, Moshe Silman set himself on fire at the end of a July 14 protest in Tel Aviv over the cost of living in Israel. Fellow demonstrators extinguished the flames, but he sustained burns to more than 90 % of his body, on July 20 died. Mr. Silman had lost his job, apartment, and he couldn’t survive on his monthly $582 disability pension, his bank account had been seized, all while crushed by outstanding debt. His suicide letter reads:
The State of Israel has stolen from me and robbed me, left me with nothing
and the Tel Aviv District Court blocked me from getting justice. — registrar at the Tel Aviv District court, broke the law, disrupted legal proceedings, out of condescension.
It won’t even assist me with my rental fees
Two committees from the Ministry of Housing have rejected me, despite the fact that I have undergone a stroke and was granted 100% work disability
Ask the manager of Amidar, in Hafia, on Hanevi’im Street.
I blame the State of IsraelI blame Bibi Netanyahu
and [Minister of Finance] Yuval Steinitz
for the humiliation that disenfranchised citizens go through day in and day out, that take from the poor and give to the rich, and to public servants
those that serve the State of Israel
The National Health Insurance, especially —, the manager of their operations, and the manager of their claims department, —, on Lincoln Street in Tel Aviv, who illegally seized my work equipment for my truck.
The Haifa National Insurance Institute branch, who abused me for a year until I was granted disability
That I pay NIS 2300 per month in Health Insurance taxes and even more for my medicine
I have no money for medicine or rent. I can’t make the money after I have paid my millions in taxes I did the army, and until age 46 I did reserve duty
I refuse to be homeless, this is why i am protesting
Against all the injustices done to me by the State, me and others like me
The second man set himself on fire while waiting for a taxi to take him to a clinic for disabled military veterans on the same day Mr. Silman was laid to rest. Akiva Mafa’i was a disabled Israel Defence Forces veteran in his mid-40s. After a car accedent 9 years ago he was deemed 25 % disabled. Years later Mr. Mafa’i suffered a stoke forcing him to rely on benefits from the Defense Ministry, and like Silman, the National Insurance Institute. It was not enough money. He is being treated for burns over 70 % of his body.
The Defense Ministry responded by claiming there is no connection between Mafa’i’s self-immolation and his military disability, and calls his treatment “professional, responsible, and devoted.”
However spokesman Rosenfeld stated that four Israelis have attempted or threatened to set themselves on fire since Silman’s act.
THIS IS NOT EXCLUSIVE TO ISRAEL. Mafa’i’s brother, Shlomo:
I feel everything the disabled IDF veterans are saying. We grew up in a home that contributes to the state, and continues to contribute. We gave our lives to the state, and in the end they throw you out. The IDF disabled veterans feel like a burden on society; that’s our frustration. When you’re called to reserve duty, you leave everything and go to serve the state with love, and in the end when something happens to you, you’re left on your own,