Netanyahu on Soldier Suspected of Murder: IDF Is Moral, Doesn't Condone Extrajudicial Killing

Prime minister writes that he trusts the IDF will conduct a 'thorough, responsible and fair' investigation, offering a softer stance from his initial comments following the Hebron incident.

The soldier and his lawyer entering a military court in Jaffa, March 25, 2016.
Ofer Vaknin

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu softened his stance on the Israeli soldier suspected of murdering a wounded Palestinian assailant in Hebron.

"I trust the Israel Defense Forces will conduct a thorough, responsible and fair investigation, as it always does," Netanyahu wrote on his Facebook page on Saturday.

"Attacking the IDF as immoral, as expressed over the weekend, is outrageous and the opposite of the truth," Neanyahu continued, saying the IDF is a moral army that does not condone extrajudicial killings.

Netanyahu added that Israeli soldiers put themselves between murderous terror attacks that target Israeli citizens, and they deserves all support.

Netanyahu previously addressed the case on Thursday, saying that "what happened in Hebron does not represent the values of the IDF," adding that "the IDF expects its soldiers to act calmly and in accordance with the rules of engagement."

Education Minister Naftali Bennett also addressed the incident on his Facebook page, decrying the negative attention surrounding the soldier's actions. "The soldier is not a murderer, have we lost our minds? We are at war. Maybe he made a mistake, maybe he didn't," Bennett wrote, adding that “the media and the politicians cannot be the soldier’s court and hangman."

"Could any of you have known what the situation was really likehad the terrorist been booby-trapped, the soldier would have emerged a hero,” he continued.

Meanwhile, the soldier's family accused the Israeli army of abandonding him. In a press conference outside the soldier's house, his sister turned to IDF chief of staff Gadi Eisenkot and the IDF Spokesperson's Unit, asking them not to rush to convict her brother. Her brother, she said, is an Israeli patriot, and she "fears that he will not receive a just trial." The soldier's sister said that they grew up in a mixed Jewish-Arab city, and that her brother has friends from all sectors of society.