Minister of Defense Avigdor Liberman addressed this afternoon at the Yisrael Beiteinu faction meeting accusations against the reaction of soldiers at the scene of yesterday’s terror attack in the Armon Hanatziv neighborhood of Jerusalem.
According to Liberman, criticism that the soldiers did not act properly is unfair. “It was a terrible event, a tragic event. We are all obligated, first of all to act with judgement in what we do and how we do it - and no less important is what we say. Every incident like this entails a couple of seconds during which you have to understand that this is not an accident but an attack. There were clearly soldiers who understood immediately that it was a terrorist, and acted. It’s not like they’re saying.”
Liberman discounted the possibility of a connection between the trial of soldier Elor Azariya and the incident yesterday. “Whoever doesn’t know the facts: since the Azariya incident we have eliminated 39 terrorists and 15 were wounded. Therefore, it’s important not just what we do but what we say. Words carry weight.”
Addressing the issue of a possible pardon for Azariya, Liberman said, “I suggest that everyone take a careful look at paragraph 442 of the law of military adjudication, which is very clear. It is only possible to start the process after sentencing. You must wait until the sentence is decided, and only then initiate proceedings in accordance with law. If I can give advice to Elor Azariya and his family - and at the end of the day we’re talking about an exceptional soldier on the one hand and, on the other, a terrorist who tried to kill IDF soldiers - for Elor’s sake and that of other IDF soldiers, it’s to go according to the law and not to appeal. To wait 15 days and turn, in this case, to the Head of Central Command and go according to the protocol. The less we talk about the pardon, the more it will make it easier on the system.”