Israel's New Protest Movement: Suicide by Fire

Moshe Silman and six others turn to self-immolation
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 29, 2012 4:30 PM CDT
Israel's New Protest Movement: Suicide by Fire
An Israeli man protests Israeli economic policies as others, not seen, block a highway in Tel Aviv on Sunday, July 15, 2012. The sign in Hebrew reads: "Bibi you burned me too."   (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

(Newser) – Israel is searching for answers after seven people tried to end it all—and make a shocking public statement—with suicide by fire. The first was Moshe Silman, who killed himself with lighter fluid and a match at a rally for the first anniversary of Israel's Occupy movement on July 14. Among the six who followed, all have lived, but one is clinging to life. Their common themes: economic desperation and a hatred of government red tape, reports Global Post.

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"It’s a wave, nothing more than a wave," said a police spokesman. But a prominent Israeli journalist has written an op-ed that takes it more seriously: "This is a last call to the despaired who intend to commit suicide: For God’s sake, stop! Stop it!" writes Eitan Haber at YNet News. A doctor at one of Israel's suicide hotlines—which are swamped these days—says he senses "the desire to create an effect. ... It’s a psychological and sociological tempest." (Read more Israel stories.)

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