On the morning of Thursday, November 22, Israeli media outlets reported that the Firearm Licensing Department of the Ministry of Public Security had rejected Elor Azaria’s appeal of the decision denying his request for a weapons license. Azaria himself heard of the decision on the news, and is yet to receive the official reply from the government agency.
In case you were on a sabbatical in the deep Amazon jungle at the time, on Purim day, March 24 2016, two Arabs armed with knives stabbed an Israeli soldier at a check post in Hebron. The soldiers there opened fire, killing one terrorist and seriously injuring the other. Eleven minutes later, Elor Azaria, a battalion medic, fatally shot that terrorist, who was lying on the ground, neutralized. A video of the Azaria shooting was disseminated by the anti-Israel NGO B’Tselem, and went viral. As a result of the video, what would have ended up in a disciplinary hearing on the battalion level erupted into a murder trial. The charges were eventually reduced to manslaughter and Azaria was sentenced to 18 months in prison, 12 months probation, and a demotion in rank. He was released from prison after serving 9 months.
The office of Honenu legal aid society attorney Adi Kedar, who represents Azaria in his appeal of the weapon license rejection, has also not received an official reply, and an inquiry with the agency resulted in a response that no decision has been made in the matter.
Elor’s father, Charlie Azaria, filed a complaint with the Police Investigation Unit regarding the false leak to the press. Attorney Kedar sent a letter to Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan, demanding that he examine the matter.
“In the appeal we explained the genuine danger to Elor’s life following threats he received, and also stated additional reasons which in our opinion justify allowing my client to hold a weapons license,” Kedar wrote the minister, adding that the director of the Firearm Licensing Department had assured him no decision had been made yet in his client’s case.
“This morning we were shocked to see and hear that, despite the above-mentioned, starting at 9 AM, news items have been appearing in the media according to which the appeal was rejected,” the attorney complained.
Kedar strongly criticized the police for leaking a false report about the decision, concluding: “Under these circumstances, I demand an urgent examination to reveal who leaked the information about my client to the media.”
Kedar demanded that “everyone involved, including the police spokesperson, submit to a polygraph test,” noting that “this is not the first time that Israel police has leaked personal information about Azaria. Currently the Police Investigation Unit is investigating a similar, earlier incident.”