Several prominent Israeli performers will appear at a rally Tuesday in support of the IDF soldier who is scheduled to be indicted for shooting dead a disarmed Palestinian attacker in Hebron last month.
The demonstration in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square — which is expected to attract a huge crowd — was organized by the soldier’s family along with former Knesset member Sharon Gal. Singers Eyal Golan and David D’or, and rapper Subliminal are slated to perform, according to a report by Channel 2.
The soldier is expected to be indicted for manslaughter on Monday.
Last week, the military prosecution lodged a declaration with the court that it will file the manslaughter indictment against the soldier early next week. The chief prosecutor of the Israel Defense Forces was also seeking to have the soldier remanded in jail until Monday, while his attorney argued the case could proceed without the suspect in custody.
The mother of the IDF soldier, whose name is withheld under a gag order, issued a public plea Thursday to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to have her son released.
In a letter to the prime minister cited by Channel 2 television, the soldier’s mother said: “I ask you now, as the mother of a fighter, please do everything you can to make sure my son comes home.
“Enough is enough, I write to you with hands shaking, with a lump in my throat, [as] my family is falling apart. Every moment without my son, we are growing weaker,” she wrote.
The soldier under investigation was filmed shooting 21-year-old Abdel Fattah al-Sharif in the head on March 24, minutes after Sharif and another assailant stabbed and moderately wounded a soldier in Tel Rumeida, an Israeli enclave of Hebron. The two assailants were shot — one was killed, while Sharif was wounded — by an army officer during the course of their attack.
The soldier maintains that he believed Sharif might have been wearing a suicide vest and that he shot him out of fear he might activate the bomb. Military prosecutors have reportedly said the soldier’s behavior at the scene did not indicate any such concern.
“Is it appropriate that a fighter who neutralized a terrorist at the site of an attack be detained almost a whole month?” the soldier’s mother asked, expressing her outrage over the manslaughter charge.
“Manslaughter, for God’s sake, for neutralizing a terrorist! Is it conceivable that a dedicated, moral, acclaimed fighter be accused of manslaughter, under your watch, for shooting a terrorist?” she asked in her letter to Netanyahu.
The soldier, who shot and killed Sharif some 10 minutes after he’d already been incapacitated and disarmed, was arrested by the IDF Military Police, but has been out of jail in supervised detention on an army base, amid a roiling political scandal over his actions and the military’s response.
Prosecutor Adoram Reigler told the court last week that the military had gathered enough evidence to move forward with the manslaughter charge against the soldier, according to the Ynet news website.
Right-wing politicians and the soldier’s family have claimed he was “lynched” by the media, and demonstrators have called for him to be released.
IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot has been criticized for the decision to investigate the incident, and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon’s support of the military leader and condemnation of the act brought him into the row as well.