Elor Azariya
Elor Azariya Yoni Kempinski

Former IDF Sgt. Elor Azariya ruled out an appeal to the Supreme Court on Thursday, deciding instead to request a sentence reduction from the IDF.

The former combat soldier, who in January was convicted of manslaughter for the shooting death of an Arab terrorist in March 2016, was sentenced by an army court in February to 18 months in jail.

On Sunday, an army appeals court upheld Azariya’s conviction and sentence.

After the court rejected his appeal, Azariya was faced with two options for reduced his sentence or overturning his conviction: appeal to the Israeli Supreme Court, or request IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot reduce his prison term.

According to sources close to the former soldier, the decision not to appeal was made by Azariya himself, who felt an additional court battle would be difficult on his parents.

Following the IDF appeals court’s ruling on Sunday, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu) publicly requested that the Azariya defense team not appeal the decision to the Supreme Court, and that any further efforts to reduce the sentence be directed at the army Chief of Staff.

Earlier this week, Azariya defense attorney Yoram Sheftel blasted Chief of Staff Eizenkot over the army’s handling of the case, launching into a personal attack on the Chief of Staff, mocking his weight and appearance.

“He looks like a municipal clerk,” said Sheftel. “Anyone as overweight as the Chief of Staff does not project the image of a soldier.”

Sheftel later apologized for his remarks.

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