THE FATHER of convicted Sgt. Elor Azaria (center) prays behind him in a military court during a remand hearing for his case last March.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
SYDNEY – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday he remains in favor of a pardon for Hebron shooter Elor Azariya, saying that the “problem” was not the sentence, but rather the “circumstances” that created the incident.
Netanyahu told reporters it was necessary to take into consideration the difficult circumstances young soldiers are thrust into during a wave of terrorism, when they have to make extremely difficult decisions. His concern, he said, is that the next soldier might feel threatened, and not know “where the limits are.”
Following an IDF court’s issuing of Azaria’s 18-month sentence for manslaughter on Tuesday, a handful of right-wing ministers called for the soldier to be pardoned.
Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely on Wednesday formally asked President Reuven Rivlin to pardon Azaria, writing that his crime took place at a volatile location last March during a wave of terrorism and that there was backing for a pardon on the Right and the Left.
Gil Hoffman and Jeremy Sharon contributed to this report.