Former Kfir Brigade soldier Elor Azaria arrived in Hevron today for the first time since being released from prison, where he served time for killing a neutralized terrorist who carried out an attack in the city of the Patriarchs.
Draped in an Israeli flag and beaming, Azaria revisited the fateful venue that became the starting point of a national debate on the very essence of Jewish military ethics, the status of enemy combatants, and to what extent a soldier can expect back-up from his chain-of-command when military and political necessity conflict.
"There were dozens of stabbings here, but ever since the incident here with Elor, thank G-d until today not a single incident," one Hevron resident said. "Apparently the terrorists understood that there's no way they'll get out of here alive," he said to cheers.
One resident reminded Azaria that while the terrorists decompose in their graves, on the other hand he, Azaria will go on with his life and blessed him to that end. Local children led a chant that said "Elor Azaria, we wanted you to know, how much we love you in Hevron..."
Azaria became the center of a selfie-opportunity, as fawning local residents lined up to immortalize the hero's welcome. At the end of the clip an Arab operative who had been observed filming the event is caught red-handed and rebuked.
In February of 2017, an IDF court sentenced Azariya to 18 months in prison. That sentence was reduced, however, after Azariya’s legal defense team appealed to IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot, who slashed four months from the prison sentence.