Liberman expresses support for Azariya’s commander

June 19, 2016  

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman on Sunday night clarified that he backs Major Tom Naaman, the commander of IDF soldier Elor Azariya who is facing charges of manslaughter after having shot a wounded Arab terrorist in Hevron.

Naaman testified in the trial last week and, while he said that Azariya was a good and disciplined soldier, he also said that Azariya’s shooting of the terrorist was not justified because the terrorist did not pose a threat after he was neutralized. Following that testimony, Naaman was attacked and threatened on social media.

“I oppose any attacks or insults against IDF officers,” said Liberman, who is currently on a trip to the United States, on Sunday night.

Jewish Home chairman and Education Minister Naftali Bennett also backed Naaman earlier on Sunday and tweeted, “Just as I was the first to speak out against the premature judgments of the public and the state leadership against Azariya, so do I now call to immediately stop the attacks against the company commander, who is doing his job and testifying according to the law.”

“Every citizen, soldier and officer is obliged to testify the truth in court, regardless of the consequences of the testimony. Under no circumstances should he be attacked for that,” stressed Bennett.

IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot had spoken to Naaman earlier on Sunday and expressed his support in the wake of the attacks against him on social media. Eizenkot clarified that Naaman is receiving full backing from the IDF and that officers and soldiers are expected to tell the truth and provide truthful testimonies.

“The trial in the case of Elor Azariya must be allowed to operate under the acceptable rules and without external interference and to allow the witnesses for the prosecution and the defense to tell the truth without fear,” said the Chief of Staff.

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