Man Arrested for Incitement to Violence Against Judges in Azaria Conviction

Police take Jerusalem resident into custody for Facebook post expressing 'extreme criticism' of IDF soldier's manslaughter conviction that 'crossed the line of legitimate opinion,' say police.

Protesters outside the military court in Tel Aviv where Elor Azaria was convicted on manslaughter, January 4, 2017.
Ilan Assayag

A young Jerusalem man was arrested early Thursday under suspicion of incitement to violence for a Facebook post against the judges who convicted Israeli army sergeant Elor Azaria of manslaughter, according to Israeli police.

The man was taken in for questioning after expressing "extreme criticism" that "crossed the line of legitimate opinion," said police.

Police also said that a 22-year-old woman from the southern city of Kiryat Gat was detained for questioning over suspicions that she published threats on social media. She was released under restrictive conditions, police added. 

"Take a grenade and blow up the judge and spread all her parts in different places for the dogs to eat her!" read the woman's post. "God will pay her for everything!"

The police said that social media is monitored for such activity often, and that they wouldn't "allow any incitement to violence against government or legal institutions and will deal strongly with any publication on the edge of incitement that could lead to real harm against public servants."

The Israeli army recently decided to increase security around the three judges, Colonel Maya Heller, Colenel Carmel Wahabi and Lieutenant Colonel Yaron Sitbon. Army prosecutor Lieutenant Colonel (Res.) Nadav Wisman was also escorted by extra security after the conviction on Wednesday.

Azaria was found guilty for manslaughter Wednesday after he shot and killed a Palestinian attacker who was laying motionless on the ground in March last year in Hebron.

Many of Israel's political leaders, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, called for Azaria to be pardoned by President Reuven Rivlin.

Hundreds of protesters blocked traffic and clashed with police outside the military court on Wednesday afternoon as Azaria's verdict was announced. Two were arrested for disturbing the peace.