Broad Public Support for IDF Soldier on Trial

YERUSHALAYIM -
Elior Azaria in a military court in Jaffa on Monday. (Flash90)
Elior Azaria in a military court in Jaffa on Monday. (Flash90)

As the state continues to make its case for manslaughter against IDF Sgt. Elor Azaria in the shooting of a neutralized terrorist, an online campaign has raised some 400,000 shekels to cover the soldier’s legal costs.

The Jaffa Military Court heard damaging testimony on Monday from a fellow soldier, who said “I would have stopped him if I knew he would fire.”

He also testified that “Elor told the [Kfir Brigade] company commander that my friend was stabbed and [the terrorist] deserved to die,” which seemed to imply a motive for the shooting other than fear the terrorist was still dangerous, as Azaria has claimed.

The soldier, a friend of the defendant, was identified only as T.M. His name is under gag order because other soldiers who testified for the IDF prosecution against Azaria have been subjected to abuse on social media.

During cross-examination, however, the soldier tried to clarify his earlier statement, saying he was not really sure exactly what Azaria had said to him.

“At first we thought that what Elor did was grave, but after we understood that it was possible the terrorist had a bomb, we realized that Elor acted properly and based on instinct,” the soldier said.

Meanwhile, a fundraising campaign for Azaria said it reached pledges of 400,000 shekels as of Monday morning, only 12 hours after it was launched.

Azaria’s family initiated the campaign to cover the heavy legal fees for their son’s defense.

“This is the first light I’ve seen during this whole four-month period,” Azaria’s father Charlie told The Jerusalem Post. “We have a great nation. G-d didn’t chose the Jewish people without reason.”

The legal fees are expected to exceed half a million shekels.