The father of Israeli soldier Elor Azaria, who is charged with manslaughter after he shot a wounded Palestinian assailant as he lay on the ground in Hebron on March 24, kisses his head in a military court.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Chants of “the media are terrorists” do not bode well for a reporter in the midst of angry protesters – protesters who believe that media, in a concerted effort with “extreme-leftist” judges, unjustly condemned Elor Azaria for the murder of an immobilized Palestinian who sought to attack IDF soldiers.
While violence at the protest was not extensive, some protesters – mostly right-wing members of the La Familia soccer club – did gang up on journalists, pushing, shoving and at one time grabbing this reporter’s phone for photographing the incidents. At other times, protesters clashed with police and broke through a police barricade, seeking to block the road.
“Let us through!” one protester shouted at a line of police officers barricading the protesters. Minutes later, a group of young men would ram through the line of officers. “This protest is for our sons! For your sons! They are in danger and you’re in danger, you can’t shoot terrorists. Let us through!” the man yelled. Nevertheless, the officers stood straight-faced, arms linked.
“Terrorists must die!” protesters shouted. “How can Azaria be considered a murderer for killing a terrorist who was coming to kill us?” another protester yelled.
The nearly three-hour verdict appeared to have the unintended consequence of wearing out the men, women and teenage protesters who stood by and received updates, as IDF Judge Col. Maya Heller thoroughly rejected all the points of Azaria’s defense. Around an hour into the reading of the verdict, it was clear that Azaria would be found guilty.
Around two hours into the reading many protesters had left, while four were arrested.
Still, the disdain for the media that Azaria’s supporters believe turned their hero into a criminal, was visceral.
Members of La Familia spat and made obscene gestures at cameras.
Mothers, who have soldiers in combat units, wept while draped in the flag of the country they believe has betrayed them.