Elor Azariya in court
Elor Azariya in court Flash90

Lieutenant Colonel David Shapira, the former commander of Elor Azariya's battalion, took the stand on Tuesday morning.

Azariya is on trial for manslaughter after he killed a neutralized terrorist.

Shapira claimed that he noticed signs of distress and pressure in Azariya well before the recent incident. "Elor's father called me and told me that 'Elor's smile had left his face.' From what I understood it was due to the pressure from being the company medic and the radio operator."

He further said the company commander told him that Azariya did not shoot the terrorist because he felt a threat. "From what Tom the company commander described to me, he asked Elor why he fired, and he answered - he's a terrorist, he needs to die."

However, Azariya told the Lieutenant Colonel a different story. "An hour and a half later I spoke with him. He told me that he shot because he saw the terrorist move near a knife. I asked him why he didn't kick the knife away and he said that he felt in danger."

Shapira explained that he immediately told Azariya that he had little confidence in the latest version, and that he suspected it was a lie. He says that Azariya didn't respond to the accusation.

He further stated that, Azariya brought up his concern over the proximity between the terrorist and the knife during the same conversation, but never mentioned the possibility of an explosive on the terrorist's body. Shapira even clarified that no one present expressed concern over a possible explosive, and that he passed next to the terrorist several times without fear.

Shapira, a former company commander in the Paratroopers, famously stopped the terror attack at the Merkaz Harav Yeshiva in 2008.