IDF Chief of Staff: Politicians lied

Gadi Eizenkot blasts criticism by MKs: 'Politicians are looking for votes; let the army court system do its job.'

Hezki Baruch,

Gadi Eizenkot in Knesset hearing
Gadi Eizenkot in Knesset hearing
Hezki Baruch

IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot responded to criticism of his handling of the Elor Azariya investigation at a hearing in the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Security Committee on Wednesday, slamming what he called “politicians’ lies”.

Eizenkot told the committee that calls by MKs to grant a pardon to Sgt. Elor Azariya, convicted in January of manslaughter and sentenced this week to 18 months in prison, harmed the ability of the army’s internal judiciary to function independently.

“I first spoke out about this on the ‘Kol Shel Ima’ program about five weeks after the [Azariya] story exploded,” said Eizenkot, adding that people “need to let the army court system do its work. There are procedures for providing pardons or lightening punishments, and they will be used according to the rules, not based on calls by politicians looking for votes.”

Eizenkot drew criticism from supporters of Azariya and some right-wing MKs for comments made shortly after the shooting.

“An 18-year old man who enlists in the IDF is a soldier, not everyone’s son,” said Eizenkot.