Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldier Elor Azaria, sentenced to 18 months in prison for the fatal shooting of a disarmed and wounded Palestinian terrorist in Hebron, is to be released from military prison to house arrest as his period of mandatory army service comes to an end and he awaits a decision from the military court of appeals. This marks the first time he will leave army custody since his arrest in March 2016. He appealed his sentence through his attorney Yoram Sheftel, who claimed that other soldiers who operated in a similar manner didn't receive a similar punishment.
Azaria has spent the bulk of the past year and three months on a closed military base from the time of his arrest through the trial and during the appeal process, in a form of military house arrest.
The tense hearing in which Sheftel yelled and waved his finger at Weissman, while he also fought regularly with multiple judges, was the culmination of the saga which dates back to Elor Azaria's killing of neutralized attacker Abdel Fatah al-Sharif on March 24, 2016. Next to him stands Charlie Azaria, Elor's father. Minutes later, while Sharif was lying on the ground, Azaria shot him in the head in a shooting that was captured on video by a local resident for the Israeli human rights NGO B'Tselem.
The defense maintained Azaria felt his life was in danger, saying he thought the terrorist could have been carrying a bomb on his body.
Until now, Azaria has served his time in open detention on a military base in central Israel with periodic furloughs home and frequent visits from family members.
The divisive case has revealed deep rifts in Israeli society, with some seeing Azaria as a hero and others as a criminal.