Following Sunday night’s decision by Israeli President Reuven Rivlin against granting Elor Azaria clemency, 20 members of Knesset, including two ministers, signed a petition drafted by former MK Sharon Gal requesting he reconsider.

Rivlin rejected Azaria's request for clemency

Rivlin rejected Azaria’s request for clemency Photo Credit: Avshalom Sasoni/POOL/Miriam Alster,Flash90/Channel 2 News

Twenty members of Knesset signed a petition today requesting that Israeli President Reuven Rivlin “reconsider granting Elor Azaria clemency.” The petition, organized by former MK Sharon Gal, describes the family’s difficult situation and claims that Azaria underwent a “painful journey of suffering.”

“The Azaria affair is tearing the Israeli society apart, creating division and polarization. Your decision can put an end to all of this and calm the dispute. You cannot ignore the public’s feelings that Elor Azaria is being scapegoated.”

Contrary to Rivlin’s recent announcement, it was argued in the petition that the fact that the IDF chief of staff decided to lighten Azaria’s sentence justifies further reducing his sentence.

Gal tried throughout the day to get as many MKs as possible to sign the petition. Currently, most of the signatories are from the right side of the political spectrum, including Israeli Ministers Miri Regev and Tzachi Hanegbi.

“The legal arguments were heard, the verdict was given and Elor accepted the sentence and went to jail,” Gal added in the petition. “When he started to serve his sentence, Elor made it clear that if he had known that the terrorist was not carrying a bomb, he would not have shot him. These statements should be taken into consideration.

“We are calling on you to reconsider your decision on Elor’s request for clemency,” Gal concluded by appealing directly to Rivlin: “It is right to express greater mercy and compassion – and to stop the family suffering that has been going on for two years. This sad affair must be brought to an end. We urge you to reconsider your decision on Elor’s request.”