Israeli manslaughter soldier given two-day family holiday for Passover

Israeli manslaughter soldier given two-day family holiday for Passover
Elor Azaria, who was given an 18-month prison sentence for the manslaughter of an incapacitated Palestinian man, was granted two days home leave to celebrate Passover by a military court.
2 min read
11 April, 2017
Elor Azaria's trial inspired a divisive debate in Israeli society [AFP]
The Israeli soldier jailed in February for the manslaughter of an injured Palestinian man has been released from his military base for a two-day home visit for Passover.

Elor Azaria was sentenced to an 18-month prison sentence for shooting Abdul Fatah al-Sharif in the head while he was lying on the ground incapacitated in March last year.

Azaria told army investigators after the attack: "He deserved to die, he stabbed my friend."

Azaria has not yet started his prison sentence as it is currently being considered by the appeals court.

A separate military court agreed to Azaria's request for Passover holiday leave on Sunday.

Azaria's family collected him from the Nachshonim army base, near Rosh Haayin, and took him to their family home in Ramle, central Israel.

Azaria's parents were featured prominently in an Israeli newspaper on Sunday, under the headline: "We wish the whole country were like our son."

The manslaughter trial became a source of much debate in Israel, with one media outlet reporting that Azaria "represented everyone's son".

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, one of the most right-wing politicians in Israeli history, has called for the young soldier to be pardoned.

A Human Rights Watch report found that Israeli forces were operating a "shoot to kill" policy and using excessive force due to commands from above.

"It's not just about potentially rogue soldiers, but also about senior Israeli officials who publicly tell security forces to unlawfully shoot-to-kill," said Sari Bashi, Israel advocacy director at Human Rights Watch.