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article imageDisabled Israeli vet sets self on fire: Fifth incident in a week

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By Darren Weir     Jul 22, 2012 in World
Tel Aviv-yafo - A 45-year-old disabled Israeli veteran, in a wheelchair, is listed in serious condition and on life support after setting himself on fire in Yehud.
Haaretz reports the man brought a canister of gasoline with him to a bus stop in Yehud, just outside of Tel Aviv. Others waiting at the bus stop rushed in and put out the flames before paramedics arrived. He suffered burns to 80% of his body.
The man's brother tells Haaretz, his brother's situation had deteriorated since he had a serious stroke 2 years ago. "The debts aren't the crux of the matter, but rather the attitude of the Defense Ministry and welfare authorities. He became desperate. Today, unfortunately, he emulated Moshe Silman's act. He is an IDF (Israel Defence Forces) veteran, and the army loves you three feet under, but doesn't love you when you're wounded. Until you receive what you're due, if at all, it takes time, and that's why people do extreme things."
He says his brother attempted suicide in the past and threatened to do it again. He told his sister last weekend, "Did you see what happened to Silman? That's what's going to happen to me too." His brother says, "these were his exact words. We couldn't believe it."
This is the fifth attempted suicide by fire in a week, but the most serious, after Social Justice protester Moshe Silman poured gasoline himself at a protest and lit himself on fire. As Digital Journal reported, Silman died Saturday after suffering burns to 94% of his body.
Vigils were held across the country, including 1000 supporters who took part in a solidarity vigil in Tel Aviv Saturday night. According to the Jerusalem Post, one protester was arrested when a group broke away from the march, broke through police lines and tried to block the busy Ayalon Highway.
The spate of 5 copycat self-immolation attempts in Israel since Silman set himself on fire, has many people concerned. Before Silman's funeral Saturday, his family pleaded with others not to imitate his desperate act. RT News quotes a letter from the family, "What he did was grim and the family does not condone it – he was expressing his own unmet pain.” "We urge the government to consider this horrifying case and do everything within its power to help Israelis who are in need of (financial) assistance."
Labour Party chair Shelly Yechimovich tells The Jerusalem Post , "(Silman's) suicide cannot be allowed to become a legitimate act of protest." She adds, "Taking one's own life is an extreme and awful act and it cannot be idealized."
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