Voice of the Jewish News: Will Israel lose itself?
search

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Voice of the Jewish News: Will Israel lose itself?

This week's editorial looks the ramifications of the sentencing of IDF soldier Elor Azaria, who shot dead a Palestinian

FILE - In this Monday, April 18, 2016 file photo, Israeli solider, Sgt. Elor Azaria, sits inside an Israeli military court in Tel Aviv, Israel. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit. File)
FILE - In this Monday, April 18, 2016 file photo, Israeli solider, Sgt. Elor Azaria, sits inside an Israeli military court in Tel Aviv, Israel. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit. File)

The case of the Israeli soldier who shot a wounded Palestinian attacker in the head at close range 11 minutes after an attack has polarised the country. Some see Elor Azaria as a hero, others see him as a murderer. Military judges have now had their say. Having been convicted of manslaughter not murder, Azaria was this week given an 18-month sentence, which could be quashed on appeal.

Compare this to Sergeant Alexander Blackman, a Royal Marine who shot and killed a wounded Taliban fighter in Helmand. Both men acted deliberately, but Blackman was found guilty of murder and sentenced to 10 years, reduced to eight. Most people will, therefore, assume that what the Brits call murder Israelis call manslaughter, despite it being difficult to argue that cocking your rifle and shooting someone in the head at close range is unintended.

And compare Azaria’s 18-month sentence to the 18-year term given to a Palestinian teenager last month for throwing stones at a vehicle that subsequently crashed, killing a 64-year-old Jewish man. Again, the world might fairly feel this shows one rule for Jews, another for others.

In his resignation letter last year, former IDF Chief of Staff and Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon said: “An army needs to win, but… even after the battle or the operation or the war, we need to maintain our values and remain human beings.” Never a truer word. But his was almost a lone voice. Benjamin Netanyahu joined other ministers in arguing for Azaria’s pardon, even before the trial. Had the PM wanted to “maintain values,” as Ya’alon urged, he’d have supported the judges and said Azaria’s illegal conduct was unacceptable. As it is, he called Azaria’s family and said he’d do what he could. The next Israeli soldier thinking of executing a wounded attacker will know the PM is on their side.

Jews in the Diaspora, viewing this from a distance, now face the prospect of seeing Israel win the war, but lose itself.

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...

Engaging

Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.

Celebrating

There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.

Pioneering

In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.

Campaigning

Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more:
comments