Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman (Yisrael Beytenu) spoke at a party faction meeting on Monday, saying that there is no comparison between Sgt. Elor Azaria's shooting of a seriously wounded terrorist who no longer posed a threat and the reactions of the soldiers who were present at Sunday's vehicular attack at East Talpiot, Jerusalem, during which four soldiers were killed.
"I was sad to see all sorts of responses to IDF forces, to the soldiers who were present," said Lieberman. "What you have to understand is that this kind of event takes seconds, during which you need to figure out that it isn't an accident but a terrorist attack, before having to load your weapon."
Lieberman went on to say, "We haven't finished with the investigation yet. But it's clear that our soldiers immediately realized (what was happening—ed), mobilized and shot the terrorist, so it wasn't as some have claimed."
The Yisrael Beytenu leader stressed that "Any attempt to tie this event to the Elor Azaria verdict is simply untrue. For anyone who does not know the facts: since the Elor Azaria case we have taken out 39 terrorists and wounded 15." He added that Sunday's real-time response by the soldiers "was a determined action of the IDF."
Moreover, he referenced the fact that the Palestinian Authority has yet to come out against the incident. "The other obvious point here is the Palestinian Authority's refusal to condemn this attack. We've been following the Palestinian Authority's official responses from Ramallah, but there's been silence. We have, however, seen a great deal of joy and support for the terrorist on social media."
Yesh Atid Leader Yair Lapid also rekected accusations that Azaria's case and his guilty verdict subconsciously impacted the reaction of the soldiers present at Sunday's attack, making them hesitate in opening fire, for fear that they too would be prosecuted.