Liberman Chides Media for Judging Soldiers Before Trial

YERUSHALAYIM -

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman took aim at the Israeli media on Monday for undermining the IDF by judging soldiers before they have been given a fair hearing over allegations of wrongdoing.

“Israeli media should remember that in the state of Israel, like all democratic countries, only the court convicts, or in this case, [the military court]. Not the media; rather, the courts. Anyone who hasn’t been convicted, is innocent, and that includes Elor Azariya, and the soldier of Netzah Yehuda.”

Liberman was referring to the manslaughter trial of Azariya who shot and killed a terrorist in Chevron after he was apparently neutralized, as well as the investigation into the conduct of a soldier from the Netzah Yehuda Battalion who killed a Palestinian man whom he deemed a threat at an army outpost in Ofra last Friday. That soldier, who has not been identified in the media, may also face charges of manslaughter.

“I would expect the Israeli press to work hard to strengthen the Israeli deterrent capability against our enemies — not to deter Israeli soldiers from fighting terrorists and fighting terror,” Liberman said during a press conference on Monday, following a tour of Bedouin communities in southern Israel.

“I want a free press, not a press that deters IDF soldiers,” he added.

“I want to remind you that people are fighting terror on a daily basis, fighting terrorists. They can’t go out to a mission with a lawyer at their side, and therefore sometimes [their] thought process will be correct and sometimes it won’t,” Liberman said.