Israel Divided Over Soldier’s Manslaughter Conviction

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he supports a pardon for Elor Azaria, an Israeli soldier convicted by a military court of manslaughter, in a case that is deeply dividing Israeli society.

Following Wednesday’s court ruling, Netanyahu said: “This is a difficult and painful day — first and foremost for Elor, his family, many citizens and parents of soldiers, me among them”.

Azaria faces up to 20 years in prison for shooting subdued Palestinian stabbing suspect last March. Azaria denied the charges against him.

Israel’s military chief of staff said that Azaria had violated the military’s code of conduct and was obliged to abide by it.

But politicians — mostly right leaning — have argued that Azaria’s actions were justified and that he should never have faced prosecution for killing what they said was a terrorist.

Naftali Bennett, Israeli education minister and leader of the right-wing Jewish Home Party, called for an “immediate” pardon of Azaria.

“Today, a soldier who killed a terrorist, who tried to slaughter a soldier, was handcuffed and convicted as the last criminal, ” he said on his Facebook page.

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SOURCE: CNN, Oren Liebermann