Skip to main content

How the IDF created a media frenzy

The IDF's rush to condemn the soldier who shot a Palestinian assailant on the ground before his indictment only contributed to the public dispute in the Israeli media over the issue.
The father (C, back) of Israeli soldier Elor Azaria (C, seated), who is charged with manslaughter by the Israeli military after he shot a wounded Palestinian assailant as he lay on the ground in Hebron on March 24, prays behind him in a military court during a remand hearing for his case, near the southern Israeli city of Kiryat Malachi, March 31, 2016. Picture taken March 31, 2016. REUTERS/Amir Cohen - RTX2AHZ0
Read in 

Low attendance at the rally on the evening of April 19 for the release of Cpl. Elor Azaria, who shot a captured terrorist in Hebron, puts the entire incident back to its proper proportions. A soldier is being court-martialed for acting in a highly inappropriate manner. He is not a hero. He is not, as a rally slogan said, "the [soldier] son of all of us” who must be rescued from the authorities. The killing was a one-time incident that should be handled by judges in a military court, not by a bunch of frenzied politicians.

For some unknown reason, on March 24, Azaria shot a terrorist after he had been neutralized, in flagrant violation of Israel Defense Forces (IDF) orders and values. The IDF’s botched handling of the media coverage blew the incident out of all proportions. It shot the affair to the top of the public and political agenda and caused enormous damage to Israel’s image in the international arena. If there is anything that deserves to be investigated apart from what the soldier did, it is the rushed response of the army’s top brass, headed by IDF spokesman Brig. Gen. Moti Almoz. Much like the leak from the military police’s investigation of the event, this response had a snowball effect, which caused an unnecessary uproar throughout the entire country.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.