Gadi Eizonkot
Gadi EizonkotIDF Spokesperson

IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot recommended that President Reuven Rivlin not grant Elor Azariya's request for a pardon.

Azariya was convicted of manslaughter in January for the shooting death of a wounded Arab terrorist minutes after the terrorist perpetrated an attack in Hevron that left one soldier wounded.

In February, an IDF court sentenced Azariya to 18 months in prison, a ruling that was upheld by the IDF Court of Appeals in July.

Military Advocate General (res.) Sharon Afek and Chief of Staff Major General Moti Almoz also called on the president to refuse Azariya's request.

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, who received the opinion of the senior officers before they were conveyed to President Rivlin, called on Rivlin to accept the request for a pardon and to release Elor Azariya from prison.

IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot had previously slashed four months off Azariya's sentence in September.

Last week, Oshra Azariya, the mother of Elor Azariya, wrote a letter asking President Reuven Rivlin to pardon her son.

"I am asking in every possible way - return Elor home. We are also exhausted, and the joy of Elor's life is slowly dying out," she wrote in the letter, which was published in Yisrael Hayom.

"Before you make your decision about the appeal for a pardon which was submitted by my son, my love, Elor, I want to tell you some things about him that you probably do not know because they were never told or written anywhere.

"Well sir, Elor's great dream, ever since he was a little boy, was to serve the state and to contribute as much as possible," she said.

She recounted a training exercise which Azariya did not pass because he stopped to help a fellow soldier who had stumbled while carrying heavy packs of sand. "I asked him if he was sorry he was delayed and therefore did not pass. I will not forget his answer: 'Mom,' he said to me, 'I would have been sorry if I had not helped him.'"

She also said that she had lost dozens of pounds and was depressed, and that her husband had suffered a stroke since their son;s trial began.

The President is expected to give his response within two months of the request’s submission.