Hebron shooter Azaria requests disability status for psychological damage
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Hebron shooter Azaria requests disability status for psychological damage

Former IDF soldier, who served prison time for killing incapacitated Palestinian attacker in 2016, files claim with Defense Ministry to receive monthly compensation payments

Elor Azaria arrives at a military prison to start serving his sentence, on August 9, 2017. (Flash90)
Elor Azaria arrives at a military prison to start serving his sentence, on August 9, 2017. (Flash90)

Elor Azaria, a former Israeli soldier who served prison time for killing an incapacitated Palestinian attacker in Hebron in 2016, had reportedly requested he be recognized as a disabled veteran.

Azaria filed a claim with the Defense Ministry’s rehabilitation branch claiming he suffered psychological damage due to the affair, Channel 13 reported Thursday.

The Defense Ministry will hold discussions on the request soon, the report said. If Azaria wins recognition, he will receive monthly disability payments as compensation. The payment amount would be determined by the extent of his disability.

The ministry said in a response to the report that it could not discuss the claim due to medical confidentiality.

Azaria served nine months of what was initially an 18-month prison term for killing Abdel-Fattah al-Sharif, a Palestinian who had stabbed an Israeli soldier and had already been subdued.

Azaria has always insisted he behaved correctly in the shooting, which was filmed, and which took place in the West Bank city of Hebron on March 24, 2016.

He maintained that he shot Sharif in the head because he believed he had a bomb hidden under his clothing and that there was a knife nearby. He said that people were screaming that someone should do something, “and I acted exactly as I had been taught since the beginning of my training as a combat soldier.”

The military court rejected all of Azaria’s claims, citing the soldier’s nonchalance in the moments before he killed Sharif, and his statements to fellow soldiers that the assailant deserved to die for attacking his comrades.

Since his release from prison, he has protested in support of soldiers accused of beating Palestinian suspects and appeared in a primary campaign ad for Likud MK Yaron Mazuz.

Several months after his release he said in an interview that he had no regrets about the incident.

Azaria’s case revealed deep divisions in Israeli society over the army’s activities in the West Bank, with some — mostly on the right — arguing that he had behaved heroically in killing the Palestinian assailant, while others said he had broken the law and deserved a harsher sentence than he received.

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