Former IDF soldier Elor Azaria is slated to enter prison on Wednesday to begin serving an 18-month sentence for manslaughter.
The IDF military court decided Tuesday to reject Azaria’s request to postpone his entrance to prison, pending a decision on his application for a pardon by IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eizenkot.
Azaria was convicted in January on a count of manslaughter and sentenced in February to 18 months in prison for having shot and killed an already-injured terrorist who moments earlier with an accomplice had stabbed another Israeli soldier in Hebron. The accomplice had already been shot and killed; the injured terrorist was neutralized by a gunshot from another IDF soldier before Azaria had arrived on the scene.
The case has raised major social and ethical issues in Israeli society, a majority of which is comprised of civilians who have grown up with and served in the Israel Defense Forces at some point in their lives. Many have felt Azaria was ensuring the terrorist would not suddenly acquire a “second wind,” grab his knife or a gun, or perhaps detonate a suicide vest under his clothing, and prove to be a continuing threat at the scene.
There have been numerous such cases in the past — including recently at the Temple Mount, where a terrorist who was shot and assumed to be “neutralized,” lying prone on the ground, and who suddenly rose and resumed firing his weapon at Israeli Police officers who then paid the ultimate price.