Netanyahu Apologizes for Comparing Hebron Shooter's Parents to Bereaved Military Families

'I apologize if my remarks were misunderstood, there is no comparison and can be no comparison,' prime minister says after accused of demeaning soldiers who lost their lives in Israel's wars.

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Israel Defense Forces soldier Elor Azaria, the so-called Hebron shooter, with his mother in the courtroom in Jaffa, on Aug. 30, 2016.
IDF soldier Elor Azaria in court. Credit: Tomer Appelbaum

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu apologized on Sunday morning for his remarks a day earlier, in which he compared between the suffering of the family of Israeli soldier Elor Azaria, on trial for manslaughter, and the suffering of bereaved families of fallen soldiers.

Azaria is standing trial for manslaughter in Jaffa Military Court after shooting a wounded Palestinian assailant in Hebron in March

"I apologize if my remarks were misunderstood," the prime minister wrote on his Facebook page. "I did not intend in any way to compare the suffering of bereaved families, a suffering I am very familiar with, to the situation of other parents in distress. There is no comparison and can be no comparison."

On Saturday night, Netanyahu said in a Channel 2 interview that he doesn’t regret calling Azaria's family shortly after the shooting occurred.

"I speak to many parents in distress whose sons were killed or are missing and here citizens of Israel are very distressed," Netanyahu said.

"There are parents who see their children in an almost impossible situation. They have to protect themselves on the one hand and on the other, not to have too quick a trigger finger," he added.

MK Shelly Yacimovich (Zionist Union) responded the Netanyahu's comments on Saturday, saying that "comparing Elor Azaria's family to a bereaved family is chilling, and demeans the soldiers who lost their lives in Israel's wars and fought the enemy, as well as their families."

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