(photo credit: PR)
The father of IDF soldier Sgt. Elor Azaria, charged with manslaughter after shooting and killing a subdued Palestinian attacker in Hebron last month, called on the public to attend a rally planned for Tuesday night in solidarity with his son.
“I want to make a request of all of the public in the country. Tomorrow we are coming together for a rally [in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square], a rally of support for my son and for all IDF soldiers. This is not at all a political rally... This is about the soldiers who defend the State of Israel,” said Charlie Azaria, after his son was indicted for manslaughter on Monday.
Apolitical or not, the event in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square appeared to be in jeopardy on Monday, as headliner Eyal Golan pulled out, as did singer David D’Or. Rapper Subliminal remained on the bill, as did singer Moshik Afia, both of whom said on Monday that they had received threats and were under pressure to cancel their participation.
“Unfortunately some of the public took this event to be about issues like values and democracy, when my only desire was to come and sing and hug, in the name of art and in my own name, as an artist,” Golan said in announcing his cancellation.
Golan said he had wanted to perform “to support the soldier and embrace his family” and never considered his attendance as being about showing opposition to the army or the chief of staff, though hours earlier, a front page article in Yediot Aharonot
ran with the headline “Eyal vs the Chief of Staff.”
Similarly, D’Or said he had not intended to make a political statement or criticize the army or the justice system, but “wanted to show my empathy for the family of the soldier. It’s not a statement against the chief of staff or the army, God forbid.”
In a Facebook post on Monday, D’Or said he had just been through “one of the toughest days of my life,” and that when he agreed to sing at the rally, “I didn’t understand just how explosive and polarizing the issue is.”
He also said the protest conflicted with a prior performance he had booked.
The rally was announced Sunday by broadcaster and former MK Sharon Gal who, in a Facebook post, called on the public “to demand the soldier’s release.”
The rally, he said, would be held under the headline: “We won’t abandon a fighter; we give our support to the IDF.”
Asked about the protest rally, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said: “We are not Islamic State – when we need to kill, we kill. But when the person is neutralized and not raising their hands, this is when it’s important that we maintain our moral compass.”