Israeli rescue services evacuating a man who set himself on fire in Yehud, July 22, 2012.
Israeli rescue services evacuating a man who set himself on fire in Yehud, July 22, 2012. Photo by Hadar Cohen
Text size

An Israeli man set himself on fire in the central Israeli city of Yehud on Sunday, and was evacuated to Tel Hashomer hospital in serious condition.

The incident comes two days after the death of Moshe Silman, an Israeli man who set himself on fire during a mass social protest last week.

The man was Akiva Mafa'i, a 45-year-old disabled Israel Defense Forces veteran. He reportedly brought a canister of gasoline to a bus stop in Yehud and set himself alight, when passers-by saw what was happening and put out the fire. The man sustained burns over 80 percent of his body.

Rescue services arrived at the scene, and evacuated Mafa'i to Tel Hashomer Hospital.

Mahmoud Gdir, an eyewitness, said that he was in his car across from the bus station when he saw the man.

"I saw a man pouring a bottle on his body, and immediately I understood that it was gasoline and not water," he said. "I stopped and ran to him. I saw him holding a lighter, and I pleaded with him not to do it, but he did. I ran to my car to get a small fire extinguisher. It lasted about 2-10 seconds."

The man had recently protested in front of the Defense Ministry and threatened to set himself on fire.

The Magen David Adom spokesman said rescue services who arrived at the scene found the man lying by the side of the road with his wheelchair next to him. "We found him in very serious condition with burns all over his body. He received initial medical treatment on the scene and was fully conscious. He was connected to a respirator and quickly evacuated to the hospital."

Later on Sunday, Moshe Silman will be laid to rest at a Holon cemetery at 5 P.M.

The 57-year-old Silman set himself on fire during a social justice protest in Tel Aviv one week ago, and succumbed to his wounds on Friday at Sheba Medical Center. Silman was suffering from second and third-degree burns on 94 percent of his body.

Silman left behind a letter, in which he said, "The state of Israel stole from me and robbed me. It left me helpless."