Moshe Silman, 57, suffered second- and third-degree burns and was placed in an induced coma. Israeil Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his concern for Silman after the self-immolation.
An Israeli protester who set himself on fire during a rally — and moments later tried to cool off eating an ice pop — was alive but in critical condition after suffering burns on nearly all of his body, according to reports Sunday.
Moshe Silman, 57, was part of the protests Saturday night marking the one-year anniversary of demonstrations that swept the country to protest the high cost of living and other social issues, authorities said.
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the man, later identified as Silman, poured flammable liquid over himself at a protest in Tel Aviv.
He was taken to Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer and remains in an induced coma, Haaretz newspaper reported. He suffered second- and third-degree burns on 94% of his body.
Dr. Joseph Hayak told the newspaper that while none of Silman’s organs appear damaged, “burns of that type are liable to cause damage later to organs such as the heart, lungs, intestines, kidneys and liver.”
Israel’s Channel 10 TV showed footage of Silman on fire. People crowded around, trying to put out the flames with shirts and water. People could be heard shouting “medic” and “bring water quickly.”
At one point after the incident, he was seen sitting on the ground and sucking on an ice pop, his clothes in tatters and his skin peeling off.
Haaretz said that he was upset that he has been unable to get government housing assistance.
Cases of self-immolation as a form of protest are rare in Israel.
In 2005, a woman died of burns sustained after she set herself on fire to protest Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip when the government evicted thousands of Israelis from their homes there.
Outside of Israel, the most famous recent case of self-immolation took place in Tunisia, where fruit-seller Mohammed Bouazizi set himself on fire in December 2010, helping set off the country’s uprising — and with it, the Arab Spring.
Saturday’s rally in Tel Aviv took place at the same time as one in Jerusalem. Some of the few thousand people who turned out carried signs reading “social justice for everybody” and “stop exploiting us.”
Silman’s injuries led other protesters to take up his cause, holding signs that read, “We’re all Moshe Silman — the blood is on the government’s hands,” according to Haaretz.
On his Facebook page, Israeil Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his concern for Silman, PressTV.com reported.
“I wish Moshe Silman a full recovery, this is a huge personal tragedy,” Netanyahu wrote.
With The Associated Press