An Israeli soldier who was convicted of killing a wounded Palestinian attacker said he had “no regrets” in his first interview since he was released from prison.
He served nine months of his 14-month manslaughter sentence and was released three months ago.
The former Israel Defence Forces (IDF) combat medic told the Hebrew-language daily newspaper Israel Hayom if he could relive the shooting, “I would act exactly the same, because that’s how I needed to act.”
Mr Azaria’s case sharply divided the Jewish nation.
While the military pushed for his prosecution, arguing he had violated its code of ethics, many Israelis, particularly those on the nationalist right, rallied to defend his actions.
In the interview, he accused the military of having “abandoned” him, echoing the sentiments of those who supported him.
Mr Azaria was initially sentenced to 18 months in prison after being convicted of manslaughter, but Israel’s military chief, Gadi Eisenkot, later reduced the sentence by four months.
His release was then brought forward by two days so he could attend his brother’s wedding.
He told the newspaper that despite his manslaughter conviction, he would serve in the IDF reserve forces.
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