Take the sentence and run, Elor Azaria
Op-ed: Considering the verdict, the military court handed you a very lenient sentence. In the worst-case scenario, you’ll sit in prison for a few months. That’s a walk in the park compared to the act of firing a bullet without any justification into the head of a dying terrorist.
Take the sentence and run, Elor Azaria. Embrace it with both hands and get as far away as possible from those trying to convince you to appeal it.
For your lawyers, you are nothing more than a platform to boost their career. For all the instigators shouting outside the courthouse—today it’s for you, tomorrow they’ll find someone else to incite for. Your defense team’s reinforcement, attorney Yoram Sheftel, is nothing more than a clown who will cause you harm. Even Sharon Gal, the patron who took you under his wing, was sitting on the most decisive day in your life in the Big Brother house. That’s how important you are to him. Another hero at your expense.
Sit down by yourself, Elor Azaria, and reconsider. Believe me, you got off lightly. The sentence you received on Tuesday actually does you a favor. Considering the verdict, the court handed you a very lenient sentence. In the worst-case scenario, you’ll sit in prison for a few months. That’s a walk in the park compared to the act that was committed, to the bullet that was fired without any justification into the head of a dying terrorist.
It’s not that the judges ignored the attenuating circumstances: A hostile scene, first operational incident, your devoted care for a friend that was wounded, the fact that you were an outstanding fighter, the contaminated trial, your parents’ health—nothing was left out. And although you did not express any remorse or show the court that you understand the severity of the act, there was a lot of thoughtfulness and compassion here.
So even if people try to spark anger in you towards the army, the court, the media, the leftists—you really have no one to be angry at. It’s true that mistakes were made, that a lot of unnecessary things were said, that too many people disrupted a process that could have been much smoother. And it’s true that the State of Israel puts its soldiers in complicated, sometimes impossible, situations. And that 50 years of occupation are leaving a mark and eating away at every good spot. And that the red lines have become brighter over the years, and that the black flags are becoming increasingly grey.
But you, Elor Azaria, you were lucky. You want to know why? Only recently, the Appeals Court ruled that the punishment for adult Palestinians who throw stones during a riot without causing injuries or damage is 18 months in prison. On Tuesday, the Military Court handed down an 18-month sentence against a soldier who was convicted of manslaughter, violating the supreme value of the sanctity of life.
So take the sentence and run, Elor Azaria. Nothing good will come out of the instigation of people who don’t have your best interest in mind. All those who are telling you that you’re a hero, that you did what had to be done, are doing a great injustice to you, to the IDF, to the state. As an outstanding soldier, as a combat medic, you should have known that.
The court had to convict you, Elor Azaria. Not because you are not everyone’s child. If it had failed to convict you, there would be no future here, neither for you nor for the rest of our children.