Israel's President Rivlin: Hebron Shooting Trial Could Create 'Yawning Chasm' in Nation

President reacts to national controversy over manslaughter trial of Elor Azaria; 'My grandchildren in the army don't know whether to obey their officers or the masses.'

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Elor Azaria with family members and his attorney at the Jaffa Military Court, September 19, 2016.
Elor Azaria with family members and his attorney at the Jaffa Military Court, September 19, 2016.Credit: Ilan Assayag

Responding on Twitter Thursday to a question about the trial of Elor Azaria, President Reuven Rivlin wrote: "This trial could confront us with a yawning chasm and not just a slippery slope."

Azaria, a corporal in the Israel Defense Forces, is on trial in a military court for shooting a prone and immobilized Palestinian assailant in the head in Hebron earlier this year.

The case has caused a rift in the nation between those who support Azaria's trial on manslaughter charges and those who think he should never have been tried.

"My grandchildren, who are soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces, ask me, 'Grandpa, who should we listen to? To our commanders or to the voice of the masses?'" Rivlin wrote.

"We have an excellent army, we have the best commanders, we have a chief of staff who can't be bettered and you should listen to them and accept their decisions, because those are the rules of the game," the president concluded.

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