Yaalon Decries Cynical Exploitation of Azariya Case

Former Israeli Minister of Defense Moshe Yaalon speaking at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya on Monday. (Flash90)

Former Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon blasted politicians whom he accused of “using Elor and his family as political pawns to gain a few more [Knesset] mandates,” Arutz Sheva reported on Wednesday.

“Today, after the verdict, I can say that the IDF and the Azariya family were severely harmed by politicians who were derelict in their duties. The criminal procedure which the soldier Elor and his family underwent was exceptionally difficult and should have been conducted very differently.”

Yaalon added that “the reason for the delay which made life difficult for all concerned was the cynical exploitation of the incident by politicians intent on personal gain … I am ashamed of those politicians.”

Yaalon concluded by saying, “Just as I personally protected the citizens of Israel from those who wished to harm them, I will not hesitate to protect Israeli society from those who wish to harm its values. This is not a matter of left-wing or right-wing; this is a fight for who we are.”

The former IDF chief of staff and defense minister’s comments will likely not be welcomed by the Azariya family.

Yaalon himself has come under withering criticism for virtually declaring Azarya guilty on the day of the incident in which he shot and killed an already wounded terrorist lying on the ground.

Azariya has denounced Yaalon for “throwing me to the dogs,” as he put it.

Meanwhile, Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely instructed the Foreign Ministry to lodge complaints with the editors of CNN and the New York Times about their coverage of the IDF soldier’s conviction.

The CNN headline read, “Israeli soldier convicted in killing of Palestinian man,” while The Times headline read, “Elor Azaria, Israeli soldier who shot wounded Palestinian convicted.”

Neither headline mentioned that the man Azaria shot was a terrorist who had attacked and wounded an IDF soldier.

“According to the scandalous New York Times headline, we are talking about a ‘wounded Palestinian’ and not a terrorist,” Hotovely said. “Even the CNN headline reports that he was a Palestinian without mentioning that he was a terrorist. The fact is that he was a terrorist who wanted to murder innocent people.”

CNN and The New York Times changed its headline following Hotovely’s complaint, according to Arutz Sheva.