A large majority of Israelis are in favor of granting a pardon to IDF soldier Elor Azaria, according to a Panels Research poll taken for Wednesday’s Maariv, the Hebrew sister newspaper of The Jerusalem Post.
Azaria was convicted by an IDF court of manslaughter for shooting a neutralized Palestinian terrorist. He was sentenced Tuesday to a year and a half in prison.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 during a wave of terrorism and that there was backing for a pardon on the Right and the Left.“The large public scandal that accompanied the trial expresses the public’s desire to maintain unity in the army and its legitimacy to struggle against terrorism and defend peace and security in Israel,” she wrote.Sixty-nine percent said they support a pardon for Azaria, 24% said they oppose a pardon, and 7% said they do not know.Support for a pardon was down from another Panels poll following Azaria’s January 4 conviction, when 75% backed it and 18% opposed it.The poll found that 56% of respondents believed the sentence Azaria received is too harsh, 29% called it fair, and 11% said it is not tough enough. Four percent said they have no opinion.Among self-identified right-wingers, 75% said the sentence is too harsh. The sentence was also deemed too harsh by 36% of centrists and 21% of people who called themselves left-wing. The poll, conducted on Tuesday, was taken among 500 people representing a statistical sample of the adult Israeli population. The margin of error was 4.3%.
Tensions running high shortly before verdict in Hebron shooting case given to Elor Azaria (credit: REUTERS)