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Israeli soldier-medic-killer ‘endured a lot’ –  so short sentence is cut by four months

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Elor Azarya had “endured a lot”, said an Israeli military spokesman, announcing Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot’s decision to cut four months off the soldier-medic’s already lenient 18-month sentence for killing a wounded, immobile Palestinian alleged attacker by a bullet to the head at point blank on the street in Hebron in 2016.   

There is no end to Jewish victimhood. He’s after all “everyone’s child,” a claim Benjamin Netanyahu echoed

Azarya had only begun to serve his sentence last month, and last week he got a furlough for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new-year– an unusual move that early in the sentence. As Israel National News noted, “soldiers are usually only granted furloughs from prison after serving a third of their sentence”. 

Azarya’s attorney Yoram Sheftel was hopeful:

“Let us hope that this is a swallow which heralds the arrival of Spring and a significant relief from the army’s punishment”, he said.

But the Jewish holiday season is not over. Yom Kippur, the day of atonement, comes tomorrow, and the Chief of Staff has perhaps felt he needed to atone for his own sins, in that he first said that Azarya had “erred”, and then that Azarya was “not everyone’s child”.

What a traitor! I mean, politicians from right and left (including Labor’s Shelly Yachimovitch) were standing in line to demand the complete pardon of Azarya in the immediate wake of his verdict (even before a sentence was handed down).

So Eisonkot gave Azarya a belated Rosh Hashanah gift, maybe an early Yom Kippur forgiveness. Eisenkot even noted that the fact that Azarya did not express regret over killing the attacker, Abdel Fattah al-Sharif, influenced his decision. That is – he would have offered him more, had he but expressed regret.

But like spoiled children, who have to get gifts no matter how badly they behave, Azarya just had to get this gift, already now – but he is ‘punished’ by getting a smaller gift than he would otherwise have gotten had he but ‘expressed regret’.

This is only the beginning. Amos Harel assesses in Haaretz:

“Assuming Azaria gets one-third of his sentence off for good behavior, he could be released as early as March 30, 2018. If not, he would serve until September 30 of next year.”

That is, in the worst case, Azarya will be out by the end of next years’ Sukkot holiday (the Feast of Tabernacles), following Yom Kippur. But there’s a good chance he will actually be out before next Passover, like a “swallow that heralds the arrival of spring”, as attorney Sheftel puts it.

I suppose they’ll then add a bit into the Passover Haggadah (the traditional reading), where in addition to commemorating liberation from Egyptian slavery, one would celebrate Elor Azarya’s liberation from prison. Because we have all “endured a lot”, and Azarya is “paying for us all”.

Jonathan Ofir

Israeli musician, conductor and blogger / writer based in Denmark.

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9 Responses

  1. Marnie on September 28, 2017, 11:49 am

    There is no end to the imagined victimhood of israeli jews. Absolutely no end whatsoever. Lies upon lies upon lies.

    Azaria lives and breathes. 14 months for murder.

  2. johneill on September 28, 2017, 11:53 am

    with his luck netanyahu’s last act in office will be a pardon.

  3. Citizen on September 29, 2017, 4:22 am

    “Most moral army in the world”

  4. genesto on September 29, 2017, 12:51 pm

    Azaria is a national hero, likely to be rewarded for ‘enduring’ his time in prison with a rapid climb up the IDF career ladder. After all, for the massacre in Qibya and his responsibility for the massacre of thousands in Shatilla and Sabra, Ariel Sharon was eventually awarded his position as prime minister.

    Kill an Arab – go to the head of the line!

  5. Ossinev on September 29, 2017, 5:21 pm

    Speaking of Zionist ” heroes “. I may have missed something but the Yahoo and the host of Israeli firsters in the US appear to have put Jonathan Pollard in the woodshed at least for the time being. What were ongoing calls for him to be allowed to “return” to his “ancient homeland” ( no doubt to be given to be given a rapturous
    “hero`s” welcome ) appear to have died the death.. Perhaps it`s because they realise that any soft treatment of an all American traitor would to put it mildly not go down well with the Trump electoral base and stir up a s..tstorm ?

    • JeffB on September 30, 2017, 7:45 am


      The reason there is no controversy about Pollard is that he served his sentence and was paroled in the normal (non diplomatic) process in late 2015. He is living in New York under a very restrictive parole.

      • Marnie on October 1, 2017, 6:56 am

        If you want to be taken seriously, provide some back up to your know-it-all declarations doofus.

      • Mooser on October 1, 2017, 1:38 pm

        “If you want to be taken seriously, provide some back up to your know-it-all declarations doofus.”

        It is about time that “Jeff b” did that. At this point, I feel like I know lots more about Phil Weiss than I do about “Jeff b”, (as far as judging credibility.)

  6. rhkroell on September 29, 2017, 5:28 pm

    The summary execution of Eastern-born/educated ethnic/cultural “inferiors” (Palestinians, Lebanese, Egyptians, etc.) by Ashkenazi Jews cannot be judged in the same manner as the murder of a member of a Western-born/educated and ethnic/cultural ”superior” Ashkenazi Jewish community anymore than the expedient demise of African-Americans in the U.S. can be judged in the same manner as the unlawful termination of an American possessing bona fide (that is, racially- and ethnically-undiluted, or semi-pure, documented) European-American genes. The discretion of Solomon must be employed when judging categorically disparate branches of the human family for similar misconduct.

    In judging (and/or commenting upon) criminal cases like those of Elor Azarya, it may help to consider the historical evolution of the political philosophy of nationalism. John Breuilly describes nationalism as a “more or less purposeful effort to revive primitive tribalism [a term Karl Popper uses to distinguish closed/traditional societies from open/modern societies in his classic, THE OPEN SOCIETY AND ITS ENEMIES] on an enlarged and artificial scale.” Nationalism is,” according to Breuilly, a militant form of modern political philosophy whose “first definite doctrines to such effect were put forth in the eighteenth century” (qtd. in Breuilly’s “Introduction” to Ernest Gellner’s NATIONS AND NATIONALISM, 2nd ed., New York, Blackwell Publishing, 2006, p. xvii). After WWII (and the brutal forms of nationalism espoused by Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan), ethnic and/or racial forms of nationalism were sometimes seen as rather crude and unsophisticated by historians, apparently, but Israeli ethnocentrism (and Zionist ideals/doctrine) suggest that ethnic forms of nationalism are anything but crude and unsophisticated. Ethnic nationalism appears, today, as quite modern (or even postmodern) given the U.S.’s and Israel’s current manner of dealing with distinct racial and/or ethnic minorities.

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