A senior military officer stated Monday that former IDF Sergeant Elor Azariya must express remorse for his actions as a precondition to receiving leniency the IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot.
Azariya was convicted of manslaughter by an IDF court in January, following the March 2016 shooting death of a wounded Arab terrorist. A month later, the court sentenced him to 18 months in prison, but delayed implementation of his sentence pending appeals by both the defense and prosecution
On Sunday, the army appeals court rejected Azariya’s appeal of his conviction and sentence.
As the defense team weighed an appeal to the Supreme Court, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman urged Azariya not to pursue the matter, but instead to request leniency from Chief of Staff Eizenkot.
Eizenkot pledged to "seriously consider" any request for leniency by Azariya.
The senior officer told News 2 that "the only person the Chief of Staff will listen to is Sgt. (res) Elor Azariya, who would write his request for leniency from Prison Four."
"If anyone thinks that a post, an article, or even a petition will cause the Chief of Staff to bat an eyelid, he is mistaken."
Earlier, Azariya's family announced that they would appeal against his conviction to the Supreme Court despite the calls for them to seek a pardon instead.
"We heard the voices of the Chief of Staff and the Defense Minister, but we intend to turn to the Supreme Court," said family members quoted by Channel 2 News on Sunday evening, hours after the military court rejected Azariya's appeal.
Charlie Azariya, Elor's father, rejected the officer's call for his son to express regret as a precondition for a pardon.
"No one can judge Elor because no one can get into his head during a terrorist incident - when the terrorist is still moving, his friend is wounded and bleeding, and there is all that shouting going on in the background. If there is one judge who can get into Elor's head and say that he did not act properly, I take my hat off to him," Charlie Azariya said.
"I want to say something really terrible - Elor is a responsible man. I taught him to take responsibility for his actions. How can a person apologize for something he believes was right? Just because the whole system wants him to apologize and say 'I was wrong?' He said, 'I felt there was a real and immediate danger.'"