Army to withhold part of Elor Azaria’s discharge grant
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Army to withhold part of Elor Azaria’s discharge grant

The soldier, serving a 14-month sentence for killing incapacitated Palestinian assailant, will be paid only for months actually served

Former soldier Elor Azaria, who was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 18 months, later commuted to 14 months, for killing an incapacitated Palestinian assailant, arrives at the Tsrifin military prison in Rishon Lezion, on August 9, 2017, to begin serving out his sentence. (AFP/Jack Guez)
Former soldier Elor Azaria, who was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 18 months, later commuted to 14 months, for killing an incapacitated Palestinian assailant, arrives at the Tsrifin military prison in Rishon Lezion, on August 9, 2017, to begin serving out his sentence. (AFP/Jack Guez)

The Israeli army has decided to withhold from convicted former soldier Elor Azaria around half of the money usually paid to discharged soldiers at the end of their compulsory service, it was reported Wednesday.

He will receive around NIS 24,000 ($6,860) instead of NIS 48,000 ($13,720) to cover the period of service that he actually completed.

“This is an outstanding fighter who fought to serve the county and continues to get slapped by the system he so loved,” Azaria’s sister Eti said in response, according to the Israel Hayom newspaper.

In August, Azaria began serving an 18-month jail sentence for manslaughter after shooting dead in March 2016 a Palestinian stabber — Abdel Fattah al-Sharif — in the West Bank city of Hebron. The assailant had already been incapacitated and was lying on the ground when Azaria shot him.

Elor Azaria, an Israeli soldier who shot a Palestinian terrorist in Hebron, sits in the courtroom before the announcement of his verdict at the Kirya military base in Tel Aviv on Wednesday, January 4, 2017 (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Last month, IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot shaved four months off the sentence, saying he made his decision based on “considerations of charity and mercy.”

In a statement given to Israel Hayom about Azaria’s discharge pay, the army said the decision was made in accordance with the law and military orders, according to which the “revocation of benefits from a soldier who was convicted of a serious offense or was sentenced to at least six months in prison should be considered.”

“The decision was made after Azaria was offered a hearing on the matter and taking into account all the circumstances of the incident,” the statement noted.

A soldier who completes army service receives two sums of money. One, known as a release grant, is given as a check and can be used for anything. The second, known as a deposit, is kept in a special account that can only be accessed to pay for specific needs such as school tuition, buying a house, opening a business, or getting married. After five years, though, it can be used for any purpose.

The amount of money is dependent upon the period of time served and the type of position held.

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