New rallies are taking place across Israel to mark the one year anniversary of the country’s mass social protests last summer. Some believe the Israeli movement influenced the Occupy Wall Street movement in the US last summer. In Israel, protestors took over the city streets in tent cities in protest of the high cost of living in Israel and lack of social services. To mark the anniversary of the tent protests a man in Jerusalem poured flammable liquid over himself, and then set fire to himself.
The man who is in his 40s is now being treated for serious burns in a Jerusalem hospital. Cases of self-immolation are rare in Israel. The last case was in 2005 when a woman set herself on fire to protest the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza.
Israel’s latest waves of social protests are to revive the movement from last summer. Organizers from last year say little has changed, despite their efforts.
Saturday’s demonstrations belonged to an effort that started with rising housing costs, but which quickly moved to issues on the high cost of food, low salaries, and better education. At its peak over a million people turned up at rallies, and the protestors took over the city streets by erecting tent cities in public areas.