Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Breaking News

Israel Prosecutors Appeal ‘Excessively Lenient’ Sentence For Soldier Who Killed Downed Palestinian

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli military prosecutors filed an appeal of the 18-month jail sentence of an Israeli soldier who shot a downed Palestinian terrorist.

Elor Azaria, 20, who was convicted of manslaughter in January in an Israeli military court, was sentenced last month by a panel of three judges at the Israel Defense Forces headquarters in Tel Aviv. Azaria was also demoted one rank, to private from sergeant.

Military prosecutors had asked for a sentence of three to five years. Also pending in the same court is an appeal of Azaria’s conviction.

In their appeal, prosecutors called the sentence “excessively lenient” in light of prior rulings by the Supreme Court and military courts, Haaretz reported. The prosecution also warned that it could cause a new, more lenient precedent.

In their sentencing decision, the judges stressed that the severity of the incident was mitigated by the fact that it took place in an active combat situation. This was a key component of the defense’s case.

Azaria, a medic in the elite Kfir Brigade, came on the scene following a Palestinian stabbing attack on soldiers in Hebron in the West Bank on March 24, 2016. One assailant was killed, and Abdel Fattah al-Sharif was injured. Minutes later, while Sharif was lying on the ground, Azaria shot him in the head in a shooting that was captured on video by a local resident for the Israeli human rights NGO B’Tselem.

Azaria was arrested the same day and indicted nearly a month later. Autopsy reports showed that the shots by Azaria killed Sharif.

Prior to shooting Sharif, Azaria had cared for a stabbed soldier.

Several right-wing lawmakers have called for Azaria to be pardoned.

Azaria does not need to report to prison until his appeals are exhausted. He remains confined to the Nachshonim military base, where he has been since being arrested.

 

A message from our editor-in-chief Jodi Rudoren

We're building on 127 years of independent journalism to help you develop deeper connections to what it means to be Jewish today.

With so much at stake for the Jewish people right now — war, rising antisemitism, a high-stakes U.S. presidential election — American Jews depend on the Forward's perspective, integrity and courage.

—  Jodi Rudoren, Editor-in-Chief 

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.