Moshe Silman
Photo: Omer Tzengott

Protesters: Silman died a political death

Week after Moshe Silman set himself on fire and day after his death, social protesters hold rallies, memorial events across Israel

Moshe Silman, who became the symbol of the summer's social protest and died Friday after setting himself on fire during a social rally, was the focus of Saturday demonstrations across Israel.


Activists in Tel Aviv, Haifa, Jerusalem, Beersheba and Hod Hasharon called to translate the tragedy into social change.


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Dozens of protesters briefly blocked several roads after rallying outside the National Insurance Institute offices in Tel Aviv. Police reopened the Ayalon highway at around midnight. One protester was arrested for disrupting order. Earlier, protesters disrupted traffic on the Menachem Begin road.


The protesters chanted, "Moshe Silman is our brother" and sprayed the words "Regards from Moshe Silman" on the NII building.


"Silman was a political person who died a political death, under political circumstances," protesters in Haifa said.


Dozens gathered at the cinematheque plaza in Haifa where protest tents were erected last summer and called to stop the "social abandonment."

מפגינים לזכר סילמן, הערב בחיפה (צילום: אבישג שאר-ישוב)

Protesters rally in Haifa (Photo: Avishag Shaar-Yeshuv)


"Moshe was part of this struggle. We are gathering to translate the grieving into determination, the sadness into hope and the great pain we all feel into social change."


One of Silman's friends said that he met him at last year's protest events. "He took part in all the demonstrations. I was aware of his personal distress and his view of the national distress that prompted the protest. The two things were intertwined for him.

הפגנת הזדהות, הערב בתל אביב (צילום: מוטי קמחי)

Solidarity in Tel Aviv (Photo: Moti Kimhi)


"The writing was on the wall. Those of us who knew Moshe were not surprised. His was a personal but also a social outcry."


Some 20 activists held a memorial rally in Beersheba while hundreds in Tel Aviv marched from the Amidar offices to Kaplan street where Silman set himself on fire last week. "We are alive and burning, alive and not breathing, we're tired, " said one of the speakers.


The protesters carried signs which read, "The fire will not be put out with a supertanker." They criticized the prime minister for the state's failures in the public housing field.


Some 150 people holding candles in Silman's memory gathered outside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's home in Jerusalem. "We're all Moshe Silman," they chanted. One of the protesters, Yuval Levy Aharon, held Netanyahu accountable for Silman's death and said the latter was "one of hundreds of thousands of victims of failed government policy."


Silman, 57, who suffered third degree burns over 95% of his body, died on Friday at the Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer.


Ahiya Raved, Shiri Hadar and Shahar Chai contributed to this report




פרסום ראשון: 07.21.12, 21:43
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