(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) After a trial and appeal that lasted for a year and a half, Elor Azaria, the IDF soldier who shot and killed an immobilized Palestinian terrorist in Hebron last March, entered military prison Wednesday to begin serving his sentence.
Azaria, who was convicted of manslaughter, was sentenced to 18 months in prison and 12 months of probation. He was also demoted from the rank of sergeant to private.
Early Wednesday morning, dozens of supporters gathered at the Azaria family's home in Ramla to accompany him on his way to the Tzrifin base in central Israel.
Azaria's father, Charlie, said his son had wanted to get out of the family car to thank his supporters, but was prevented from doing so by a group of some 20 reporters and photographers flanking the vehicle.
Attorney Yoram Sheftel, who represented Azaria in the latter part of his trial and through his appeal, said Wednesday at the family's home that "this is a sad day for the country, for the IDF, and for 90 percent of the citizens of Israel. It's a joyous day for the Arab enemy, and therefore a joyous day for the media."
"I've had to handle serious problems created by Elor's former lawyers. No one has ever gone to prison with so many people lined up on the way there," Sheftel said, referring to his client's supporters.