Illustration: IDF soldier (Image credit: Moshe Milner/Government Press Office of Israel)
As the IDF is essentially holding Elor Azariya’s military service release grant hostage, concerned civilians are stepping up to fill the void created by the state, and have launched a fundraising campaign to support the embattled soldier financially when he finishes his term in prison.
Azariya recently began a 18-month manslaughter sentence after his appeal was rejected in late July. His “crime” was to shoot a wounded terrorist who had just stabbed a soldier with an accomplice in Hevron in early 2016. Azariya testified that he opened fire after seeing the terrorist’s hand move, and fearing he was reaching for his knife or to activate a hidden bomb-belt detonator – fears borne out by a recent attack on the Temple Mount as The Jerusalem Herald previously reported.
After being jailed, his release grant and personal deposit from his mandatory army service are now in jeopardy, according to reports on Aug. 13. The reason behind the latest tribulation is that half of his service was spent being detained on an army base during the course of his trial, and therefore IDF brass is not considering him as having completed his service. The sum of money adds up to around 50,000 shekels (just under $15,000), and it will be decided in September whether he will receive the grant for his service to his nation.
The new twist further highlights the necessity for a new campaign launched on Aug. 9 by Azariya’s friends, which seeks to raise money for him and his family.
To view the campaign in English and contribute, click here.
The campaign is already more than half-way to its temporary goal of 220,000 shekels (over $61,000), and after securing that sum it plans to continue, aiming for a total of 500,000 shekels (around $140,000).
With 48 days to go, the campaign already has 63% of the first target sum raised, and has been supported by over 1,000 people. It started with a bang, reaching 84,000 shekels within 24 hours of being launched.
Azariya’s friends, who established the campaign, wrote they “decided to raise money to help him and his family and show the world that the nation of Israel and righteous people everywhere will defend our soldiers in the face of brutal terrorism.
“All donations will go directly to Elor's family. His father is not in the best of health, having suffered a heart attack during the trial, and his mother has also suffering greatly.
“Together we can help Elor and his family. Help us do something to help Elor Azariya, who dedicated his life to protecting the people of Israel, so that he'll know that the entire Jewish people and the free world is behind him.”
The campaign can be found here.