Following a wave of angry invective directed at the company commander testifying in the ongoing manslaughter trial of Elor Azariya, a number of ranking IDF officers have lent their support to the officer.
Tom Naaman, who commands the company where Azariya served, has come under fire for testifying that the accused soldier told him he had killed the wounded terrorist because “he needed to die”.
Azariya shot and killed a wounded Arab terrorist in Hevron in late March in the immediate aftermath of a terror attack that left one soldier wounded.
Since his testimony in the case, Naaman has been harassed by callers condemning him as a “traitor”. An online ‘shaming’ campaign against Naaman has spread across social media, berating him with a wide range of epithets and deriding his service as an IDF officer.
Kfir Brigade commander Colonel Guy Hazut issued a public statement on Monday defending the officer and offering his full support.
Tom, Hazut wrote, “testified in court as the central witness, as required by law, in the case of the shooting in Hevron. As was expected from him he gave truthful testimony as to how he experience the shooting incident, standing mere centimeters away from the terrorist.”
“Unfortunately, and to my great embarrassment, since his testimony, Tom has been the target of a shaming campaign on social media, and even been subjected to threating phone calls.”
“It’s important to emphasize that against those who are vilifying Tom, there are many who support and defend him completely from those who don’t understand that Tom has been a model officer, and he truthfully reported about an incident that contradicted orders concerning live-fire,” continued Hazut. “I’m proud of him and give him my full backing.”
IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot also made a public demonstration of support for Naaman, meeting with him on Sunday.
Former Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon also weighed in, defending Naaman and blasting those behind the ‘shaming’ campaign.
“The wild incitement against [Naaman] is just another transgression that has to be stopped.”
The government, said Yaalon, must “come out against this [incitement] and express its support for a soldier and commander who has demonstrated courage far beyond the battlefield.”