Azariya trial fallout begins with IDF running away

Tuvia Brodie,

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Tuvia Brodie
Tuvia Brodie has a PhD from the University of Pittsburgh under the name Philip Brodie. He has worked for the University of Pittsburgh, Chatham College and American Express. He and his wife made aliyah in 2010. All of his children have followed. He believes in Israel's right to exist. He believes that the words of Tanach (the Jewish Bible) are meant for us. His blog address is He usually publishes 3-4 times a week on his blog and 1-3 times at Arutz Sheva. Please check the blog regularly for new posts.

On Wednesday, January 4, 2017, a Military Court in Israel announced a verdict after a trial against IDF soldier Sargent Elor Azariya. Sargent Azariya had been charged with manslaughter after he had shot and killed an Arab terrorist who had been wounded but not killed during an attack against IDF soldiers in Hevron.

Sargent Azariya was found guilty of shooting the downed terrorist 'without reason'. The chief Judge, a Colonel Maya Heller, further ruled that, henceforth, shooting to kill a terrorist simply because you suspect danger, will be forbidden; it now appears that the suspicion of danger/threat is no longer a sufficient reason for killing a terrorist.

Yesterday, January 8, 2017, a terrorist drove a very large truck into a group of soldiers who were visiting a place called the Armon HaNetziv Promenade. It's a major tourist attraction. At least four soldiers were killed and at least 15 injured before an armed civilian tour guide (and, possibly, a few soldiers at the scene) killed the terrorist. One of the dead came from my own community (Daniel Eisenbud, Herb Keinon, Anna Ahronheim, "Jerusalem ramming attack: four killed as truck rams into IDF soldiers", jerusalempost, January 8, 2017). The Jerusalem Post reported there had been some 300 soldiers at the site when the attack began (ibid).

As part of the news reporting of this event, someone at the scene took a video of some 30 soldiers, most of whom (if not all) were armed. These soldiers were standing perhaps 40 metres from the attack. Watch the video below. The truck appears almost immediately in the upper left corner of the screen. The 30+ soldiers are at the center of the video.

As the truck plows into the soldiers standing beside their tour bus, watch how the soldiers in the center of the video react to the attack:

After the initial ramming, the truck ends up at the top right of the video. It turns around and/or backs up and runs over the fallen soldiers a second time. Meanwhile, the 30 soldiers at the center of the video break ranks and run--not towards the truck at the top right, but in the opposite direction, to the left. Only 4-6 soldiers of this group take up defensive positions. Everyone else runs away. (William Jacobson, "Palestinian terrorist uses truck in deadly Jerusalem attack", legalinsurrection, January 8, 2017).

None of these soldiers fired a weapon ("I don't know why 40 soldiers didn't shoot the terrorist", arutzsheva, January 8, 2017).

At this time, no one knows why the majority of these armed soldiers didn't rush towards the incident and fire at the driver, as a few other other soldiers did (Yoni Kempinski, "Watch: Cadet who shot at terrorist in truck ramming attack", arutzsheva, January 8, 2017). The IDF is investigating ("I don't know why...", ibid).

This investigation could result in a cover-up. Already, reports surface that soldiers at the scene really, truly, honestly did fire at the terrorist. But these reports only speak of 2 soldiers--perhaps others--shooting.

But then, there were some 300 soldiers at that scene. Only two fired their weapons? When you look at the windshield of the truck, you've got to ask, exactly how many of the 300 soldiers present really fired at the truck?

That windshield appears to have less than 20 bullet holes in it. The only thing we know is that one civilian shot at the truck--and two soldiers shot at it.

But still: less than 20 bullet holes? If each person who fired at the truck fired five times, that's only three soldiers shooting (plus the civilian).

Where were the other 295 soldiers?

As you saw in the video, at least 30 soldiers were too far away to shoot. But there appears to have been perhaps 25-30 additional soldiers standing at the bus when the truck plowed into them. Where were they after the truck rammed them?

According to one essayist, the 'evidence' at the scene shows that soldiers did not fear to shoot (Noam Amir, "Comment: tying the Jerusalem terror attack to the Elor Azariya affair", jerusalempost, January 9, 2017). I don't buy it. If these soldiers didn't fear to shoot, why did so few shoot? Worse, why did so many soldiers near the bus also turn and run away?

Why did those soldiers at the center of the video run? How do you account for so many IDF soldiers turning tail and running?

Are you really going to suggest that 'evidence' shows 'soldiers' did shoot (Amir, ibid)? Or, do you look at the video and find soldiers, both at the bus and perhaps 40 metres away, running?

Why do so many run? The most likely reason is fear--of becoming the next Sargent Azariya. These officer cadets aren't stupid people. They're the best and brightest of the IDF. They ran because they didn't know if they could shoot without getting arrested.

This is part of the fallout from the Azariya verdict. It shows IDF officer cadets running away!

When the incident began, there was great confusion. At first, it had looked like a case of a tragic accident--a driver of a large truck losing control. But then, it seemed to become clear that the truck driver hadn't lost control at all. He reversed and ran at soldiers again (Eliran Aharon, "I pulled out my gun and opened fire on the terrorist", arutzsheva, January 8, 2017). However, by then, it would appear, most of those who had run had already done so.

One soldier at the scene is reported to be adamant that no soldier froze or reacted with fear because of an 'Azariya effect' (Yoav Zitun, Yael Freidson, Shachar Chai, "Cadet from Jerusalem attack: we fought for our friends", ynet, January 9, 2017). But if, as this cadet suggested, no soldier was careful, carfeul, careful because of the Azariya verdct, why did so few soldiers actually shoot--and why did so many closest to the bus run?

This verdict brings shame to the IDF. It emboldens our enemies. It will kill IDF soldiers who hesitate to shoot out of fear of arrest. It will kill Jewish civilians because IDF soldiers may choose to run rather than risk a life-destroying arrest for shooting a terrorist 'without reason' (as happened in the Azariya case).

This Military Court, so filled with Leftist anti-Israel beliefs, sends an anti-Israel message to Israel. That message is, we will protect the enemy, not you. We will make it nearly impossible for Jewish soldiers to defend themselves--and you. We will turn IDF youth into cowards so that Arab terrorists can live--except, of course, if Israeli civilians at a scene of a terror attack shoot first, along with, perhaps, some very few soldiers who will throw their freedom to the wind to protect Jews.

Will Israel's Leftist civilian courts now go after the soldiers who fired at the truck? Will those courts gp after armed civilians?

Will the IDF discipline those who ran? Will they be tossed out of Officer Training? Or, will Leftist IDF leaders allow them to stay?

Israel's leaders must step up. They must change the rules of engagement, so as to protect our soldiers. They must make it more dangerous for terrorists to attack us. They must free Sargent Azariya. They must speak for us, not our enemies.

Most important, they must reign in the Leftists within the IDF. They must not hide from the fact that so many soldiers ran away. They must end the damage Leftist anti-Israel career officers do to us.