The military prosecutor has requested that the names of all witnesses testifying in the Elor Azaria case be withheld due to incitement by far right radicals following the testimony of Azaria's company commander Maj. Tom Na'aman. The request was submitted to the court on Monday.
Prime Minister Netanyahu also spoke about the incitement against the company commander of the solider who shot the neutralized terrorist in Hebron. The prime minister was speaking at a Likud faction meeting on Monday.
After testifying against Elor Azaria's actions during the incident, Azaria's company commander Maj. Tom Na'aman has become a target of far right wing incitement on social media.
The request said, amongst other things, that "following (the company commander's) testimony and throughout the weekend, Maj. Na'aman received threats from different people, directly threatening to attack him due to his testimony. The Major's phone number was published, and he received threatening telephone calls and messages. Due to this intimidation, Maj. Na'aman even submitted a formal complaint to the police."
Maj. Na'aman has been called a "traitor" and "national embarrassment" by people on the extreme right on social media as well.
"In order to protect the safety of future witnesses who appear in front of this court," the request continued, "and in order to enable them to give free testimony, the prosecution requests, with the consent of the defense, that the court will prevent the publication of identifying details (of the witnesses), including their military ID numbers, their names, their pictures, their addresses, and their phone numbers."
This is considered an unusual request. The request will not include battalion commander Lt. Col. David Shapira, who is set to testify on July 12. Nor will does it include Division Commander Col. Yariv Ben Ezra, who is also expected to testify.
Meanwhile, Netanyahu said earlier on Monday "I believe that there is no room for this kind of belligerence. I'll tell you exactly what I told the soldier's father – I trust the IDF, I trust the IDF chief of staff, I trust the commanders and the soldiers, and I one hundred percent trust the legal system. It is serious, real, and fair. "
He also called for "calm discourse from everyone and to keep the IDF outside of politics. We have to protect it like it protects us."
Several members of the highest military and political echelons came to the defense of Maj.Tom Na’aman, including IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot and former defense minister and IDF chief of staff Moshe Ya’alon, amongst others.
Since testifying against Azaria, Na’aman has come under attack from the extreme right which has labelled him a “terrorist” and a “disgrace to the State of Israel.” Na’aman has further been the subject of a shaming campaign on social media.
Na’aman gave his testimony on the matter at a military court last Thursday during which he described the course of events the day of the shooting. “Elor told me, “The terrorist is alive and he should be dead.’ I was angry at him for firing his weapon under my jurisdiction without my approval. I took him aside and told him to stay put. There was no military justification for Elor’s shooting,” Na'aman stated.
The incident occurred after two Palestinians stabbed an IDF soldier in Hebron. The soldier was moderately wounded and eventually both Palestinians were neutralized. A video of the event that came out shortly after shows that following the attack, one of the terrorists was lying on the ground when Azaria aimed his weapon at him and shot him in the head. A pathologist’s testimony confirmed that the terrorist was alive when Azaria shot him.