After Elor Azaria’s conviction, some said that it would make IDF soldiers hesitant to open fire and others claimed that this is what happened during the recent terror attack in Jerusalem. Conscript combat soldiers tell Channel 2 News Online about how they feel and their doubts.

“We aren’t scared to shoot” Photo Credit: Channel 2 News

Following Elor Azaria’s manslaughter conviction for shooting a neutralized terrorist in Hebron, some warned of the effects of the court’s ruling on IDF soldiers’ functioning and that it would cause soldiers to be more hesitant when it comes to opening fire. Similar claims were heard on Sunday, immediately following the Jerusalem terror attack. Channel 2 News Online interviewed conscript combat soldiers, who spoke of their feelings after the recent events.

L., a soldier in an elite IDF combat unit who is expected to participate in operational activities in the West Bank, said that Azaria’s manslaughter conviction for killing a terrorist does not influence his conduct or feelings towards opening fire when necessary. “I trust myself and my friends that the moment we need to open fire in any situation we encounter, our decision will be very proper without unnecessary harm to human life,” he explained.

He emphasized that the commanding staff trusts the combat soldiers to operate according to instructions given and based on what is expected of them. He also stated that there have not been any procedural changes since the incident. “I trust myself to know how to reach the most appropriate decision,” L. noted. “In the unlikely event that I act against the moral orders that I was educated upon, I know that I will need to bear the consequences.”

However, his unit friend N. believes that hesitation concerning opening fire following the incident has risen. “Any time I encounter a gray area or places in which my judgement alone must guide me, I will think 10 times before acting,” he claimed. “On the one hand, thinking before acting is the correct thing to do. On the other hand, as combat soldiers, we sometimes need to make split-second decisions and that line needs to be clarified.”