However, Lieberman also defended his comments Wednesday that he is “not happy” about the verdict, and also defended his appearance last year in military court to show support for Azaria.
Asked by Army Radio whether it is appropriate for a defense minister to express an opinion about a military trial, especially one that hasn’t run its course, Lieberman said that “everybody has an opinion no one wants to run away from their feelings, no one wants to run away from reality. Everybody must accept and respect the decision, regardless of their personal feelings about it.”
Lieberman also said that many people are “throwing around empty phrases” without having read either the verdict.
“I expect all ministers to control themselves, or to shut up and to let the defense establishment deal with this issue responsibly and carefully,” Lieberman said.
Regarding a potential pardon for Azaria, Lieberman stressed that consideration of the issue can only happen once Azaria has been sentenced, and that a request can only be forwarded by Azaria himself, his attorney or immediate family members. Anyone else talking about a pardon is only speaking to further their own interests and not in support of Azaria. The statements by Education Minister Naftali Bennett, Prime Minister Netanyahu, and others are for their own (political) purposes. That is all.”