(photo credit: REUTERS)
Readers discuss conviction of Sgt. Elor Azaria
IDF Sgt. Elor Azaria has been found guilty of killing a man (“Court convicts Azaria of manslaughter,” January 5). But to my mind, the real question is the status of that man before he was killed.
A civilian, not a soldier, and not in a time of war, plans a mission in which he takes a knife and goes to a checkpoint of Israeli soldiers, with the express purpose of killing as many soldiers as possible before he himself is killed. He knows in advance that he almost certainly will be killed, and fully accepts this fact.
According to Halacha, this man has the status of hefker – he has given up all his rights, and therefore has none. So in a nutshell, the real question is not did the soldier kill, but what did he kill?YEHUDA OPPENHEIM
As an Israeli citizen and mother of a son who served in the Israeli army, I can honestly say that if someone were to have risen against him, I would not have expected my son to inquire: “How lethal is the weapon you carry? Are you intending murder or harm? Have I fired enough bullets to disable you or do I need to fire more?” There is no logic to the argument that a terrorist, once disabled, can never pose an additional threat.
Few soldiers have the wisdom of Solomon – and even fewer, if any, the gift of prophecy – in order to discern at what point the danger has passed.
A terrorist is an individual who has taken upon himself the willful intent to do harm, lethal or otherwise, to a victim of his choice. In so doing, he places himself in harm’s way. It is incumbent upon intended victims, whether soldiers or laymen, to take every precaution to ensure that no further harm can be done, whatever the consequences for the terrorist.
It is incumbent upon us, the public, to support our soldiers and the decisions they are called upon to make while frightened and under great pressure.
The fact that Elor Azaria was found guilty will please B’Tselem.
Will the rights group announce all over the world that Israel doesn’t hesitate to do what it must to please the world? Will it now come out with a strong publicity barrage showing the immorality of Hamas in retaining two missing Israelis? The world will not be pleased no matter what Israel sacrifices in sentencing Azaria. The world will want him to be a sacrifice to standards that are expected of no one else.TOBY WILLIG
How can the IDF expect a 19-year-old who has been in the army for a relatively short time to make life-and-death decisions? Do you know of any teenagers who could make such decisions and still be expected to pay the consequences if they reacted incorrectly? How could this boy, who had just seen attempts by two terrorists to stab his fellow soldiers, decide unemotionally what to do? Israel is more concerned about world opinion than what is meant by self-defense from a Jewish point of view. The guilty party here is the military brass.
In a war, a soldier cannot always shoot at an enemy soldier. He cannot shoot when the enemy has raised his unarmed hands in surrender or is already a prisoner.
In all other cases, it is the duty of the soldier to shoot. The duty of the soldier is to win the war, not make peace.
Our government, and of course our army, should recognize that we are at war, and that the terrorist is not just an individual with a grudge, but an enemy soldier.
Terrorists are simply enemy soldiers who are not in uniform.
One thing we learned from the Holocaust is that when a gentile says “I will kill you,” we should believe it.JOSEPH M. SCHWARCZ