Jewish Home Chairman and Education Minister Naftali Bennett said in a television interview that if Sgt. Elor Azaria is convicted, he should be immediately pardoned. Azaria is on trial in a military court for shooting a terrorist who had stabbed another soldier and was lying on the ground, wounded.
"I said from the first day that the interference by the prime minister and the then-defense minister was very wrong, and it sealed his fate in advance," Bennett told Channel 2. "I've been following the trial and I have reached the following conclusion: If Azaria is convicted, he should receive an immediate pardon and not sit in jail a single day. That is the message that needs to be sent."
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu initially condemned the soldier's actions, but then reversed course and called his father, Charlie Azaria, on the phone. Then Defense Minister "Bogie" Ayalon condemned his actions before the investigation had begun.
In recent days, the transcript of the telephone conversation has been made public. Charlie Azaria is heard crying, and Netanyahu tells him: "Charlie, I understand what you are feeling. I trust the inquiry."