Two murders that captivated the people of Israel and divided the nation have been resolved in guilty verdicts, thus testifying to the strength and independence of the Israeli justice system.
The first was the murder of a 16-year old Jewish teen, Shira Banki when she participated in the 2015 Jerusalem Gay Rights Parade. She was knifed by an Ultra-Orthodox Jew and died of her wounds. This was the second time this particular Haredi had attacked gay rights advocates.
The second was the killing of a Palestinian terrorist by an Israeli soldier, Sgt. Elor Azaria, who testified that the terrorist “deserves to die.” Azaria was convicted of manslaughter for the lethal shooting. The shooting was “captured on video by a Palestinian human rights activist and widely distributed.” (see article) The video showed the soldier shooting the disarmed and incapacitated Palestinian terrorist who lay wounded on the street after he had attacked and wounded Israeli soldiers in the strife-torn city of Hebron. The soldier’s deed was immediately condemned by both the Israeli Defense Minister and Prime Minister. Now, Israeli politicians from both the ruling coalition and the opposition are calling for a pardon.
The reaction by Israelis across the country to these two events reflects the deep schisms in Israeli society itself. The verdicts affirm that Israel is a nation ruled by law and the court system.
Life sentence for Jerusalem pride parade stabber who killed teen girl 16-year-old Shira Banki – Jerusalem Post, June 26, 2016
Guilty as Charged Israeli Soldier Convicted of Manslaughter for Lethal Shooting of Wounded Palestinian Assailant – Haaretz, January 4, 2017
Stanley Davids said:
I guess one can never know with total certainty exactly why such a terrible event occurred. Video exists. But what was really happening in the soldier’s mind? A man is dead who should not be dead. And soldiers, young kids, are being thrust into situations which are ugly and desperately challenging of their own values. The settlements, the occupation, are corroding Israeli society. The downsides are clear for both Jews and Palestinians, for both Israel and a Palestinian State, for Israeli Jews and Jews world-wide. I pity John Kerry more than I stand with him. I regret Pres.Obama’s intellectual brilliance could not have been morphed into political wisdom. My darker side sporadically hopes that the Israeli courts will do what Israeli voters have refused to do. I know that Palestinian political choices bear a predominant part (but not sole) of the responsibility for the current impasse – but having said that…L’An? Where do we go? A man is dead who should not be dead. A soldier is convicted. And we see no light.