Tag archive for "Moshe Silman"

General, Justice in Israel

Moshe Silman’s Death: Who is really at fault?

No Comments 25 December 2013

Moshe_SilmanPHOTO: Moshe Silman

Minister Bennett blames Moshe Silman’s friends and family for not helping enough, one of his friends responds.

PRESS RELEASE | December 23, 2013

Rabbi Idit Lev, Social Justice Department Director at Rabbis for Human Rights, who greatly assisted Moshe Silman z”l, who self-immolated in July 2012 in an act of protest against Israel’s social welfare system’s failure to assist him, responds in a public letter to Economy Minister Naftali Bennett’s assertion that in the case of Moshe Silman there was a lack of involvement and responsibility of friends and family. This is part of the response to Bennett’s remarks, which were quoted in Globes [link in Hebrew] on December 19, 2013 and widely circulated on Facebook [link in Hebrew].

MosheSilmanfuneralIMAGE:  Moshe Silman z”l’s funeral, Holon cemetery, July 22, 2012. Photo: Oren Ziv, ActiveStills

Open letter to Minister Bennett

Minister Bennett, you blamed Moshe Silman z”l’s friends and relatives, here is our response:

Dear Minister Naftali Bennett,

You were quoted in an article in Globes as saying, “When Moshe Silman set himself on fire in the social protests, I kept asking myself, where were his neighbors, where was his family? If someone thinks that this country can survive one minute without mutual assistance – the whole business will collapse.”
But Honorable Minister, the correct question is where was the state? Because in the case of Moshe the fact is that mutual assistance was very much present, and the state was not, and without the state, the involvement of family, neighbors and friends was not enough!

I wonder if you read the extensive coverage of Moshe’s story in the media and on the internet. Because in your remarks, unfortunately, there was unfamiliarity with the situation and an insult to the many who supported Silman z”l and were involved in his life. Because you are an Israeli government minister, you have an obligation to check facts before acting or speaking. And it is even more unfortunate that you do not remember that “One who embarrasses another in public, it is as if that person shed blood” (Babylonian Talmud, Baba Mezia 58b).

I, Rabbi Idit Lev, work at Rabbis for Human Rights and am active in the social protest movement in Haifa. Through this work I met Moshe, and was privileged to accompany him in the final year of his life. During this year, his friends and family attempted to assist him as much as they could. One friend gave him an apartment to live in for free for a year, his family guided him and assisted him as much as they could. His friends in the protest leadership in Haifa did their best, and at Rabbis for Human Rights we fought together with him against the National Insurance Institute for him to receive the disability benefits that he deserved (a battle that we won!) and for him to receive rental assistance from the government through Amidar (in this battle, we lost). Moshe met the criteria published by the government, but the government refused to give him what he deserved. Even if Moshe had received the rental assistance, his family would still have had to help him pay the remainder of the rent, pay some of his bills and help him buy food and medication. This is because our country’s social safety net simply is not enough for basic subsistence, not to mention subsistence in dignity.

The State of Israel and its representatives, the large community which is supposed to be responsible for ensuring that mutual assistance is the policy of the Jewish state, told Moshe that if he became homeless and lived on the street, they would then begin to help him. Moshe refused to live on the street. Would you have agreed to live on the street for a month in order to receive assistance from the state?

The Silman family did all it could. And it seems that you did not check the facts before blaming them in front of the entire country. You must apologize to them!

I would be happy to meet with you and show you how without mutual assistance, none of the people I know who live in poverty (and there are many) would still be alive, because the State of Israel does not think that part of its role is to take care of people living in poverty and Israel is abandoning them every single day. We have mutual assistance. The question is if we have a government aware of the Biblical commandment, “‘If any of your fellow Israelites become poor and are unable to support themselves among you, help them as you would a foreigner and stranger, so they can continue to live among you.” (Leviticus 25:35). I have not encountered this government; I still hope that I do one day.
Further reading:
A country which destroys its citizens: The story of Moshe Silman, Ori Ben Dov, 16 July 2012.
The writing was on the wall, 17 July 2012.
Much water cannot put it out, Almog Behar, 30 July 2012
Farewell, Moshe Silman: Israel cares more for the dead than the living, Rabbi Kobi Weiss, 24 July 2012.
You are the ones who should apologize, Rabbi Idit Lev and Dror Dvir, 24 July 2012.
Being poor in Israel, Rabbi Idit Lev, 31 July 2012.

General, Justice in Israel

The Press Council will discuss the complaint against “Israel Hayom”

No Comments 28 October 2012

The “Keshev” organization has issued a complaint to the Press Council against the newspaper for deleting parts of Moshe Silman’s letter which blamed the Prime Minister and the Minister of the Treasury for his situation.  The Board of Ethics of the council has decided to follow up the complaint.

By: Rabbi Idit Lev Continue Reading

General, Justice in Israel

Being poor in Israel

No Comments 31 July 2012

Protest for public housing, Jerusalem, Israel, 26.7.2012  Protesters shout slogans in front of the house of Housing Minister Ariel Atias in Jerusalem, during a protest for public housing on July 26, 2012.  Photo by: JC/Activestills.org

Rabbi Idit Lev, looking back in a moment of reflection, following the death of Moshe Silman Continue Reading

General, Justice in Israel

Much water cannot put it out

5 Comments 30 July 2012

Destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem, by Francesco Hayez | wikipedia

We bow our heads before our brother in the struggle: Moshe Silman   1955-2012

As a Jew I do not justify suicide, and it does not matter if it’s the suicide of the hero Samson, of those at the fortification of Masadaor of Moshe Silman at the demonstration on Shabbat evening a week ago.  Life is given to us without our permission and it is also taken away without our permission or objection. Continue Reading

General, Justice in Israel, Press Releases

Farewell, Moshe Silman: Israel cares more for the dead than the living.

No Comments 24 July 2012

In the photo: Rabbi Kobi Weiss

Moshe Silman was entitled to burial costs from Bituach Leumi after he died but not to a place to live when he was alive.  Rabbi Kobi Weiss hopes that the right to die with respect will be echoed by the right to live with respect for those insist to live. Continue Reading

General, Justice in Israel

You are the ones who should apologize

No Comments 24 July 2012

Israelis place flowers on the grave of Moshe Silman at the end of his funeral in Holon on July 22, 2012. Moshe Silman died from severe burns after he set himself on fire during a social justice demonstration in Tel Aviv on July 14. Photo by: Oren Ziv/ Actviestills.org

Moshe Silman’s act presents us all with a burning mirror, a shocking reflection of the existing policy. The protest has a duty to demand policy changes. The establishment and supporters of the present system attack Moshe Silman for daring to set himself on fire.  Afterwards, they attack us, his friends, for failing to help him in spite of all our attempts.  Now they blame the social protest, those who demand change. They attack us as if Moshe was not one of us. As if we should accept everything that happened as the order of the day. Continue Reading

General, Justice in Israel

Please Continue to Pray for Moshe Silman

1 Comment 20 July 2012

The situation of Moshe Silman continues to be extremely severe. On this first day of Ramadan and this Shabbat, we ask you to pray on Moshe’s behalf Below is the prayer for healing I offered at the march in Jerusalem last Sunday.  Rabbis For Human Rights also sends it’s condolences to the families of those murdered in Bulgaria, and prays for the speedy recovery of those injured.

Prayer for Moshe Silman

May the One who blessed our ancestors Avraham and Sarah, Yitzhak and Rivkah, Yaakov, Leah and Rachel, bless Moshe Ben Sara Silman. May the Holy One of Blessing deal mercifully with him to heal him and strengthen him and give him life.  May God send him a complete and speedy recovery of both soul and body, along with all who are ill.  May this happen speedily, and let us say Amen.

If it is not Your Will to answer our prayers in the way we intended, may it be Your Will to be with Moshe in his final days and hours, so that they be without pain and without the suffering that accompanied him in the final years of his life.


Shabbat Shalom.  May we know no more suffering, injustice or desecrations of God’s Name,



15:56 20.07.2012 Moshe Silman dies after self-immolation at Israeli protest – Rabbi Arik Ascherman: Moshe Silman died this afternoon. May his memory be for a blessing. May we find a way to give his death meaning.

General, Justice in Israel

A country which destroys its citizens: The story of Moshe Silman

7 Comments 16 July 2012

On Saturday evening, at the junction of Kaplan st. and Duvnov st. in Tel-Aviv, Moshe Silam set fire to himself.

By: Ori Ben Dov – On Shabat evening, 14.7 during a demonstration on Kaplan St. where Moshe Silman set fire to himself, in protest at the terrible economic situation he was in and at his mistreatment by state and government institutions. The following will try to clarify how Moshe got to this stage. It is recounted by Rabbi Idit Lev, Director of Social Justice at Rabbis for Human Rights, who accompanied Moshe during the last year in his desperate attempts to get what he was due and to prevent him from becoming homeless.

A personal note: Idit is my sister.  For many years  I have heard from her hardship stories where she has tried to help make state institutions attend to those citizens who are weak and lack basic rights.  This evening I was standing very close to Moshe when he set himself alight.  The following will try to be as accurate as possible, but it is written in deep shock.

A country which destroys its citizens

Since he went bankrupt ten years’ ago, Silman has lived in poverty, given up on medicine and food, and battled the establishment to get rental assistance and disability benefits.  Continue Reading

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