מרכז בגין, הערב
מרכז בגין, הערב צילום: חזקי ברוך

At a special panel held this evening at the Begin Center in Jerusalem, MKs Avi Dichter (Likud), Yakov Peri (Yesh Atid) and Amar Bar-Lev (Zionist Union) addressed the ongoing court case of Elor Azariya, the soldier on trial for shooting a wounded terrorist in Hevron, and the consequences it will have for the IDF.

MK Dichter, Head of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, said that the legal proceedings surrounding Azariya “were sullied by many - including politicians – and it will take time to clean up the filth. The legal proceedings have continued above and beyond, and everyone knows that the story will end with the Supreme Court.”

Regarding the consequences the trial will have, Dichter said that the trial “damages [Israeli] society, the army, and the soldier himself, as well as causing other negative results of which we are still unaware.”

MK Peri said that the heads of the security establishment erred when they quickly jumped to publicly condemn the shooting of the neutralized terrorist. “The communications onslaught was a demonic dance that lit a flame from which it is hard to disengage and [enable us] to truly see the web of considerations the soldier faced,” he said.

According to Peri, the IDF should have investigated the shooting, but not in the way that it did. “It is possible that it will end in the Supreme Court. It depends what the ruling will be, and I don’t envy those judges.”

MK Bar-Lev reminded of the fact that “after every operational activity there is an investigation, and every investigation is supposed to be secret, so that soldiers won’t need a lawyer at their side. According to the investigation, the soldier didn’t act correctly, but that doesn’t mean that he committed a criminal offense."

“The general public is confused, therefore each person is left with his own feelings,” said Bar-Lev, formerly a commander of Israel’s elite reconnaissance unit. “It was expected [from the beginning] that the IDF and the Defense Minister and the IDF Chief of Staff make their statements about what was expected from a soldier. The whole process was sullied by politicians from the beginning, and was sucked into a whirlpool. The Azariya trial has had a very bad effect on IDF soldiers.”

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