JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Israeli soldier who was captured on video shooting an already downed Palestinian assailant in the head was charged Monday with manslaughter.
The charge against Elor Azaria, 19, of Ramle in Jaffa Military Court marked the first time in over 10 years that an Israeli soldier has been charged with manslaughter for a killing that took place during field operations, according to Haaretz.
On Monday, the gag order on identifying Azaria was lifted. He is a member of the Kfir Brigade, an Israel Defense Forces infantry division whose specialties are counterterrorism and urban warfare.
Azaria last month shot Abdel Fattah al-Sharif in Hebron, a West Bank city that has been a focal point of a seven-month wave of Palestinian violence against Israelis. He arrived on the scene after al-Sharif and an accomplice had stabbed Israeli soldiers and the accomplice had been killed.
The soldier has said that when he shot al-Sharif, who was supine and unarmed, he feared the Palestinian might be about to detonate an explosive.
Last week, the military prosecutor said a video of the incident shows that Azaria “was not as moved and agitated as he claimed.” The prosecutor also confirmed that the autopsy showed that the soldier’s shot to the head was what killed the assailant.
Meanwhile, a rally scheduled for Tuesday in Tel Aviv in support of Azaria will go forward without its headliners.
On Monday, the popular singer Eyal Golan said he would not participate, a day after saying he would sing at the rally to support the soldier and his family.
“I decided yesterday to go and support the soldier and embrace his family. I never thought to go against the IDF chief of staff, whom I greatly admire. I never wanted to go against the IDF, which is the people’s army,” Golan said in a statement.
“To my regret, a part of the public took this to a place of values and democracy, while all I wanted was to do was sing and embrace, in the name of art and myself as a singer, as a person. Unfortunately, I see that there are those who take my desire into the political realm, as though I am declaring war against the army.”
He called on Azaria and his family to “stay strong.”
Singer David D’Or also canceled his participation, citing the politicization of the event and a conflicting engagement.
The rapper Subliminal on Monday said he would participate in the rally.