Moshe Silman, aged 57, took petrol from one of the generators being used to power remote microphones and set it alight, before pouring it over his head.
He had previously distributed a typed note containing his Israeli ID number, detailing his years of military service and struggles to keep himself financially afloat.
One protestor translated the note at the scene:
“He says I don’t have money for medicines and for rent, and I don’t have any way to survive…he says the state of Israel stole me, not stole from me, stole me and robbed me.”
Protestor and bystander to the event, Amichy Bikovsky, spoke of his reaction: “He’s not the only one, you get…thousands of stories like that. You know, people pay all their lives social security [sic]…and when you need it, you get…nothing.”
Saturday’s protest was designed as a commemoration of one year of social justice and anti-capitalist protests, with protestors railing against what they saw as Netanyahu's government’s corruption.
Protest organiser Daphni Leef spoke to RFI earlier on in the evening, “I think that everybody who came here, came here because they are very scared for the future of this country. The fact is when you talk about government policy, it effects every part of society.”
Silman is currently hospitalised with second and third degree burns and in critical condition.