Opinion

Ex-IDF Soldier Who Killed a Dying Palestinian Assailant Is Crowdfunding a Tell-all Book

And if you donate $220, you could get a private tour of the scene of the execution

Elor Azaria and his father, Charlie.
Tomer Appelbaum

Elor Azaria has written a book. Now he’s not only the soldier who shot a dying man in the head at point-blank range (“A man? A terrorist!”) – he’s also an author. And thus the Israeli bookshelf will now hold, side by side, David Grossman, Amos Oz, A.B. Yehoshua, Orly Castel-Bloom, Zeruya Shalev and Elor Azaria (“Have you read Azaria’s latest? Amazing!”).

The book’s title is “From Dark to Light: One Shot in Hebron” (“toward light” in Hebrew is el or – the author’s first name). The book promises, according to the Mida website, “to reveal the full story of the episode that continues to this day to touch the rawest nerves of Israeli society.” The hitch? Because, says Mida, “a great many people will do everything to prevent the book from being published” – which is promoting this ultra-important endeavor (in its Hebrew version) – a crowdfunding campaign has been launched to ensure that it will see the light of day.

The range of suggested donations is flexible, from 50 shekels to 3,500 shekels ($14 to $970), so it’s worth perusing what you get in return before deciding how much to give. For 50 shekels, for example, you’ll receive “a letter of thanks emailed to you for your donation toward the publication of Elor Azaria’s book.” Nice, but if you’re really into it – why not add 10 shekels and get a printed letter sent to your home, a genuine souvenir of an execution.

For 90 shekels, you get “a printed copy of the book by mail.” And don’t delay, because this is the special “launch price! A reduced price ahead of everyone!” Still, if you’re already at it, you’d do well to add yet another 30 shekels (the cost of a falafel + beverage) and receive, in addition, “Why You Vote Right and Get Left,” a book by Erez Tadmor, one of the leaders of Im Tirtzu. Since the court stated that it had no interest in declaring that NGO a fascist movement, all that remains is for us to assert ourselves that it is indeed fascist.

Now we come to the really attractive deals. For just 160 shekels you can get “a printed copy of Elor Azaria’s book, shipping included + a credit on an acknowledgments page.” In other words, for a relatively paltry sum, less than the cost of a ticket to a Shlomo Artzi concert, you’ll receive the monumental masterpiece and your name will appear in the book. This is a really worthwhile offer, especially for those who want to link their name with the execution in the form of a souvenir that can be handed down to future generations, too.

Of course, if you’re willing to shell out 160 shekels, you should definitely consider adding an additional 40 (shawarma + beverage), because in that case you’ll get “a printed copy of Elor Azaria’s book, shipping included + a dedication from Elor.” Yes, you heard right: For 200 shekels you can get a personal note from the revered author, who is also the person who personally executed the dying man (“A man? A terrorist!”). According to sources knowledgeable about the project, we’re talking here about “a personal dedication along with an autograph.”

By the way, those who can’t make up their mind between the option of the personal dedication (200 shekels) and the option of being credited at the end of the book (160 shekels), should consider the 270-shekel option: a printed copy of the book delivered by mail + a credit + a dedication (“Azaria’s triple deal”).

I myself choose to forgo the two options for those donating 250 shekels: either a book + admission to a talk by Israel Hayom journalist Gilad Zwick (“The Media is Leftist… But Less”), or a book + a talk by Daniel Seaman, who was the director of the Government Press Office in the Prime Minister’s Bureau (!) and is now lecturing on the subject “When the IDF Stopped Wanting to Win.” The reason for my choice is that, as I see it, if you’re already investing 250 shekels, it’s worth going for the real deal: “Book and talk: Elor Azaria’s book + ‘The Judicial Dictatorship’: a talk by Yoram Sheftel.” The latter, it will be recalled, was Elor’s lawyer during his appeal proceedings. Who is better suited to recount in moderate, dispassionate, respectful language the story of the historic injustice inflicted upon the author?

Skipping a few options from the wholesale realm (five copies of the book for 550 shekels; 10 books for 750 shekels), we come to the crowning glory of the project. And yes, I realize that this is a hefty sum – 800 shekels – but before you panic, the following needs to be said: From the historical perspective, the execution in Hebron in March 2016 will be remembered as a formative moment for Israeli society. In fact, the election next week is not between right and left, or between Likud and Kahol Lavan. The election is between supporters of Elor Azaria and opponents of Elor Azaria. Accordingly, in broader terms of a donation to bolster the Azaria legacy in the Land of Israel, 800 shekels is just so much froth on the waves.

On top of all this, for that same meager sum you will get – are you sitting down? – “a book + a tour of the scene of the shooting in Hebron with Elor’s father.” Yes, yes! It’s not a typo and not a slip of the keyboard. If you donate 800 shekels to the crowdfunding campaign, you will get “Elor Azaria’s book and a double ticket for a fascinating tour of the scene of the shooting in Hebron led by Charlie Azaria, a retired police investigator” (“Do you realize that here, exactly here, he pumped a bullet into his head? Look, there are still bloodstains! Awesome, no? By heaven, what a soul I raised, dad’s pride”).