Former Soldier Who Killed Motionless Palestinian Is A 'King' In Israel

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Elor Azaria, former Israeli soldier, who murdered an incapacitated Palestinian man in cold blood, has become a mentor for many.

Israel

In March 2016, an Israeli soldier was caught on camera shooting an alleged Palestinian attacker at point blank range in the head.

The Palestinian man was unarmed, wounded and lying motionless on the ground.

Despite that, Elor Azaria an Israeli soldier, murdered the incapacitated suspect in cold blood.

Again, all of it was caught on video.

Yet, Azaria was convicted of manslaughter, not murder and he received a slap on the wrist in the form of an 18-month jail term.  However, even that outrageously lenient sentence was reduced and Azaria got out after serving only two-thirds of the original term.

His case is perhaps the prime example of how unjust the Israeli justice system can be, especially considering there are Palestinian children who have languished in military jails for longer periods of time for trivial actions such as throwing stones, which, it is important to mention here, comes under "terrorism" as per Israeli law.

But the reduced sentence for cold-blooded murder was just the beginning of what has turned out to be a royal life for Azaria in Israel.

A new report by Israeli news site, Mako, reveals how, only a few months after his release, Azaria has transformed from a manslaughter convict to a celebrity who receives "gifts and perks across the country." Since he has got out of jail, many have invited him to parties and soccer games as a celebrity guest.

An American Jewish millionaire even "offered him an all-expenses-paid vacation to a Western European tourist destination," according to the report, just days after his release.

Some of his admirers even refer to Azaria as "our king."

Although the Israeli army booted Azaria, he has become a "mentor" for many soldiers, who seek advice from him on serving in Palestinian territories occupied by Israel.

In order to expound on how big a celebrity the Israeli soldier has become, the Mako report included a statement from a Tel Aviv-area club owner:

"When he arrived for the first time after he was released from jail, I stopped the music in the middle [of the song], went up to the DJ booth and told everyone on the microphone that today we are joined by our king, Elor," Ras Buskila told the magazine. "People clapped for him, they came to hug him and take photographs with him. Since then, almost every time he comes, I let him choose the music."

"In my opinion, he is an Israeli hero. My brothers and I served in the Golani [Brigade] and we would do exactly the same thing that he did, or even shooting off some more bullets. We treat him ... in my opinion, he can drink as much as he wants on the house, and of course does not pay cover. I give his friends a discount. He is the local celebrity and he deserves that kind of treatment," Buskila added.

Again, this is someone who was caught on camera killing not only an unarmed but incapacitated suspect at point blank range.

All of the admiration has, predictably, further emboldened the murderer, who had notoriously remained remorseless during his trial.

Asked if he could relive the March 2016 incident in the West Bank city of Hebron by Hebrew-language daily Israel Hayom, Azaria said, "I would act exactly the same, because that's how I needed to act."

Banner / Thumbnail : Photo credit should read HEIDI LEVINE/AFP/Getty Images

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