Prime Minister Netanyahu
Prime Minister Netanyahu Amos Ben Gershom/GPO

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced that he supports the push to pardon Sgt. Elor Azariya following his conviction for manslaughter earlier Wednesday.

"This is a difficult and painful day for all of us - first and foremost for Elor and his family, for the soldiers of the IDF, for the citizens, and for the parents of soldiers, including myself." Netanyahu wrote on his Facebook page.

''I call on all Israeli citizens to act responsibly toward the IDF, its commanders and staff. We have one army which our existence is dependent upon. The soldiers of the IDF are our sons and daughters, and they must remain above any dispute." the Prime Minister wrote, adding: "I support granting a pardon to Elor Azariya."

The President's Office issued a statement earlier saying that President Reuven Rivlin, who has the power to pardo, would only consider pardoning Azariya if he submits a request to be pardoned himself.

The statement read: "In accordance with standard practice regarding requests for pardons on this or any case, requests for pardons are dealt with when submitted by the applicant themselves, or by one with power of attorney, or an immediate relative, following a conclusive judicial ruling."

The statement continued: "In light of the foregoing, and in relation to the case of the soldier Elor Azariya, in the event that a pardon should be requested, it will be considered by the President in accordance with standard practices and after recommendations from the relevant authorities."

Azariya is scheduled to be sentenced on January 15.

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