A former Israeli soldier who was convicted of manslaughter and went to prison for killing an incapacitated Palestinian attacker should be allowed to carry a gun to protect himself from terror threats, a Likud lawmaker said Monday.
In a letter to Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, Nava Boker said that Elor Azaria and his family had been “facing threats and harassment for two years.”
“A few days ago, a picture was posted on Facebook showing a pistol held against Elor’s head,” she said.
“I’m asking you to grant him a weapons license, despite his criminal conviction.”
Boker added that Azaria had been a distinguished soldier and that he should be allowed to defend himself.
Azaria family associates were quoted by Hadashot TV news as saying the family had received threatening letters from the Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror groups that included bullets from an M16 rifle.
“I think every person has a right to defend his life, which is why I turned to the public security minister to ask him to permit [Azaria] to carry a weapon,” Boker said.
A statement from the Public Security Ministry said that the request could only be submitted by the person who wanted the license, and that once that had been done, the request would be considered.
Azaria was released last month after serving nine months — two-thirds — of his 14 month sentence.
He was sentenced in February 2017 to an 18-month prison term for killing Abdel Fattah al-Sharif, a Palestinian who had earlier stabbed an Israeli soldier and had already been shot and subdued.
The incident, which was filmed, took place in the West Bank city of Hebron.
IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot later shortened the sentence by four months.
Azaria began serving his term on August 9.
Azaria has never expressed remorse for his actions. He has maintained that he opened fire because he believed Sharif had a bomb hidden under his clothes. A military court, however, dismissed that claim, 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.
The Hebron shooter 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.