Netanyahu addresses Hebron shooting incident in first interview since his reelection

In his first interview since being reelected a year and a half ago, which will be broadcasted this evening on Channel 2 News, the Israeli Prime Minister spoke among other things about the Hebron shooting incident, which has continued to make headlines in Israel: “IDF soldiers are in an almost impossible situation.”
Netanyahu and Elor Azaria Photo Credit: Channel 2 News

After speaking at the United Nations General Assembly and before his scheduled meeting with U.S. presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took the time to give a special interview to Channel 2 News. In his first interview since being reelected a year and a half ago, Netanyahu addressed among other things the Hebron shooting incident, which has continued to make headlines in Israel as the trial of Elor Azaria continues. The full interview will be broadcasted on Channel 2 News this evening (Saturday).

In the interview, Netanyahu clarified that he did not regret the conversation he held with Charlie Azaria, the father of the IDF soldier who is currently standing trial for shooting a neutralized terrorist in Hebron. “Do you know what I told him?” Netanyahu asked. “Word for word: put your faith in the IDF, in the Chief of General Staff, in our commanders and soldiers and in our justice system.”

When he was asked if he called any other families of soldiers who allegedly violated IDF orders, the Israeli Prime Minister had an interesting response. “No. But I called many parents who were in distress after their sons had fallen or went missing,” he stated. “There is a great distress here among Israeli citizens. I want you to understand that.”

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Spoke with Netanyahu. Azaria's father Photo Credit: Azri Amram / Channel 2 News

Netanyahu went on to explain that this was a broad issue with wide implications. “There are countless parents who see their children, as soldiers, in an almost impossible situation,” he stated. “On the one hand, they need to protect themselves and on the other hand – and this is not a simple matter – they need to make sure not to be trigger-happy. And that’s not easy.”

“I have been in this situation before,” the Israeli Prime Minister continued. “I have been in quite a few situations of clashes or near clashes with the enemy. I had to decide when to shoot and when not to shoot. It wasn’t easy for an officer in Sayeret Matkal and I think it isn’t east for any soldier. That is why this statement – let the IDF decide – was acceptable not only for this father but for all fathers and mothers.”

Netanyahu also addressed other issues in the interview such as the new initiative led by Israeli Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon to heavily tax owners of three or more apartments. “I have a conflict of interest. I have three apartments,” Netanyahu stated when asked about it, hinting that he may not take part in the vote on the issue.

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