The family of the soldier quickly mounted a public relations campaign, with his sister telling journalists at a press conference at the family home, “Why have you judged him on the scene? … Why are you killing him without a trial?”With seemingly no sense of irony, she added, “All that’s left is for you to execute him, without him even being able to defend himself.”Hundreds of average Israelis have since taken up the soldier’s cause, protesting across the country in support of him. The municipality of Bet Shemesh officially endorsed and advertised a demonstration Monday night under the headline “a show of support for the release of the Israeli hero,” while the municipality of Ramle has scheduled its own pro-soldier rally for Tuesday night.
“I know that it requires your discretion, but have no doubt: You have complete backing – complete! – from me, from the Israeli government, and in my opinion from the nation in Israel.”
According to a poll conducted for Israel’s Channel 2, 57% of Israelis opposed the soldier’s arrest, while 42% described his actions as “responsible.” Only 5% of those polled said they would describe the shooting as murder.
One day after the incident, an analysis of social media revealed that half of the Israeli public supported the actions of the soldier who killed al-Sharif, while the other half was critical of his actions. Two days later, once Netanyahu publicly changed his tune, a second analysis of social media revealed that 82% of the public now supported the actions of the soldier.