Some 40 Israeli lawmakers on Wednesday signed a petition urging President Reuven Rivlin to pardon Elor Azaria, the IDF soldier convicted and jailed for fatally shooting a subdued terrorist in Chevron in March 2016.
Rivlin announced last Sunday that he would not approve Azaria’s petition for a pardon, saying it would “undermine the strength of the State of Israel and the strength and values of the Israel Defense Forces.”
In a case that polarized Israelis, Azaria was sentenced to 18 months in prison for manslaughter. He began serving his term in a military prison in August. In late September, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot reduced his sentence by four months, citing compassionate grounds.
The new petition was the brainchild of journalist and former Knesset member Sharon Gal, who had been advising the Azaria family throughout the case. Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, Jerusalem Affairs and Heritage Minister Ze’ev Elkin and Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely were among the signatories.