Israel stunned by wave of self-immolations

GlobalPost reports: The second half of July has exposed Israelis to a new and horrifying phenomenon: desperate but mainstream citizens choosing, again and again, to end it all through fire.

So far, there have been seven attempts in the last two weeks, and numerous threats. One man is dead, another clings to life.

The first one came on July 14 at a large Tel Aviv rally commemorating the first anniversary of the Israeli Occupy movement. Moshe Silman, a badly indebted Haifa resident entangled in what the daily newspaper Ha’aretz called “a bureaucratic nightmare,” distributed flyers to a few people around him, doused himself with lighter fluid and struck a match.

He was burned over 90 percent of his body. The social justice movement, of which he was a part, waited out the eight-day vigil in shocked silence until he died.

The idea of a man ostentatiously setting himself aflame is so alien here that many Israelis, and it would appear their entire government, have found themselves helpless and unsure how to react. [Continue reading…]

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