Moshe Yaalon blasts politicians who exploited Azariya incident

Former Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon criticized politicians who 'used Elor Azaria as a political pawn to gain a few more mandates.'

Yoel Domb,

Moshe Yaalon
Moshe Yaalon
Miriam Alster, Flash 90

Former Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon responded Wednesday to the conviction of the soldier Elor Azariya, sharply criticizing politicians who, he claimed, "used Elor and his family as political pawns to gain a few more [Knesset] mandates."

Yaalon had in the past himself criticized Azariya and the public movement supporting him, even comparing him to ISIS. Azariya for his part criticized Yaalon for not giving him any support and "throwing me to the dogs", as he put it.

In a clip published on his Facebook page Wednesday, Yaalon said "this is a difficult day for Elor and the Azariya family, for society and Israeli politics and for me. I wish to direct my words to all the people of Israel. I am proud of our officers and soldiers who act according to the IDF's moral code. They had responsibility for dealing with this unusual and unfortunate event. Know that you are always in my thoughts.

"Today, after the verdict, I can say that the IDF and the Azariya family were severely harmed by politicians who derelicted their duties. The criminal procedure which the soldier Elor and his family underwent was exceptionally difficult and should have been conducted very differently."

Yaalon added that "the reason for the delay which made life difficult for all concerned was the cynical exploitation of the incident by politicians intent on personal gain. Instead of leading, they used Elor and his family as political pawns to gain a few more [Knesset] mandates.They lied to them. I am ashamed of those politicians.

"As a soldier who served for 37 years in the IDF, and as a former Chief of Staff and Defense Minister, I call on all of those involved in the holy task of protecting Israel's security to continue to act with determination against our enemies while maintaining our values. This is our uniqueness as a nation which ought to be a paragon for all nations. This is the source of our strength and our greatness," said Yaalon.

He concluded by saying "just as I personally protected the citizens of Israel from those who wished to harm them, I will not hesitate to protect Israeli society from those who wish to harm its values. This is not a matter of left-wing or right-wing, this is a fight for who we are."