Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Sunday, Rosh Chodesh Kislev, stated he was “saddened” after hearing President Reuven Rivlin rejected a request for a pardon for former IDF soldier Elor Azariya.
After reaching his decision not to pardon Azariya, the President’s Residence issued the following statement to Azariya:
“The President has given his opinion regarding the offenses committed by you and their circumstances, the content of your written application, and all the material and opinions brought before him, and has decided to reject the application.
“From examining the material before him, the President learned that in passing sentence, the military court took into account the circumstances raised by you – which appear in part in this pardon request – as consideration of leniency, and noted it took them into account in passing a lighter sentence.
“In addition, in September 2017, the Chief of Staff saw fit to further ease your sentence and reduce the punishment by four months from the prison sentence imposed upon you, for reasons of compassion and while taking into consideration your military service as a soldier in the operational arena.
“As such, the President concluded that taking all considerations into account and in light of the above, an additional lightening of your sentence would harm the resilience to the Israel Defense Forces and the State of Israel. The values of the Israel Defense Forces, and among them the Purity of Arms, are the core foundation of the strength of the Israel Defense Forces, and have always stood strong for us in the just struggle for our right to a safe, national home, and in the building a robust society.
“In his decision, the President took into account the fact that you are expected to face a committee in approximately three months, to consider your release.”
DM Lieberman has been an outspoken advocate to pardon Azariya, but his words did not penetrate the ears of the military court justices or others empowered to release him.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)