About 2,000 Israelis rallied in central Tel Aviv on Tuesday night in support of soldier Elor Azaria, who shot dead a neutralized terrorist in Hebron.
Sergeant Azaria, 20, from Ramla, was charged on Monday with manslaughter for killing Abed al Fatah a-Sharif, who was lying on the ground seriously wounded after he and another Palestinian attacked IDF soldiers.
The protesters waved support signs and flags, some wrapping the Israeli flag around themselves. Many called for Azaria's release, while some made racist jeers.
Among the slogans chanted by rally attendees were "Elor the Hero," "Terrorists shouldn't be neutralized - they should be killed," and "Kill or be killed."
Azaria's parents, Charlie and Oshra, and his sister Etti, spoke at the rally, as well as journalist Sharon Gal, who was one of the rally's organizers.
Family members of terror victims also spoke at the rally, including Dvora Gonen, who lost her son Danny Gonen, and Ruit Hasano, who lost her husband Avraham Asher Hasano.
Several musicians are scheduled to appear at the rally and perform, including singers Moshik Afia, Maor Edri and Amos Elgali, and rapper Subliminal.
Singers Eyal Golan and David Doar, who initially agreed to perform, withdrew at the last minute in the wake of public outrage.
"I would have liked to come to perform at the assembly in the name of art, and personally as a performer and as a human being. However, I'm sorry to say that there are those who will use this as a political spectacle," Golan said.
Doar also decided against performing at the square, saying "I wanted to show my sympathy to the family of the soldier – not to say anything against the IDF or the IDF Chief of Staff, God forbid."
He then went on to add that he didn't know that "this was going to be an event with a political orientation."
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commented on the issue on Tuesday, saying that "As the father of a soldier and as prime minister, I would like to reiterate: The IDF backs its soldiers. I am convinced that an examination of the event in Hebron will be done responsibly and sagaciously."
The prime minister also expressed his trust in the courts, saying "in my familiarity with the military justice system, I am convinced that the court will consider all circumstances regarding the incident. Our soldiers are not murderers. They act against murderers and I hope that a way will be found to balance between the action and the overall context of the event. In the meantime I suggest that everyone lower the flames."
Due to the event, Ibn Gvirol Street will be closed to vehicular traffic between Shaul HaMelech and Arlozorov streets. Frishman Street will be closed to traffic between Masaryc Square and Ibn Gvirol Street, David HaMelech Blvd will be closed to traffic between Weitzman Street and Ibn Gvirol Street, Gordon Street will be closed to traffic between Shlomo Hamelech Street to Malchei Israel, and the eastern side of Malchei Yisrael itself will be closed to traffic between Sderot Chen to Ben Gurion Boulevard.
Noam (Dabul) Dvir, Reut Rimerman, Moran Azulay, and Yoav Zitun contributed to this report.