29.1 C
Saturday, July 20, 2024

Macron accuses Israeli official of election interference – media

Israel’s diaspora affairs minister backed the French leader’s right-wing opponents ahead of last weekend’s vote

French President Emmanuel Macron has called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to complain about “unacceptable” interference in France’s recent election by one of his ministers, Axios has reported.

Speaking to Israel’s Kan broadcaster earlier this month, Israeli Diaspora Affairs Minister Amichai Chikli expressed support for Marine Le Pen’s National Rally party, currently led by Jordan Bardella. 

“It would be excellent for Israel if [Le Pen] were the president of France, ten exclamation points. In my opinion, it would be good for the State of Israel,” Chikli said. Asked whether Netanyahu agreed, Chikli replied “I think Netanyahu and I are of the same opinion.”

The interview took place four days before parliamentary elections in France, in which Macron’s centrist Ensemble bloc was forced to enter a de-facto partnership with leftists, greens, and communists to prevent the National Rally winning an outright majority.

READ MORE: ‘Putin endorsed Le Pen’: Russiagate comes to France

The day after Chikli’s interview, Macron phoned Netanyahu to complain that the minister’s comments were “unacceptable,” and amounted to election interference, Axios reporter Barak Ravid claimed on Tuesday. Netanyahu assured Macron that he had instructed all of his ministers to refrain from commenting on the French vote, Ravid added.

The French government has not acknowledged the call. Netanyahu’s office and the French embassy in Israel refused to comment on the matter.

Despite Netanayhu’s apparent assurance, Chikli continued to opine on French politics in the days after the call. “Macron threw the Jewish community under the bus, and I stand behind this statement,” he told Israel’s Army Radio on Monday.

Read more

'Why Be Racist?' is painted on the side of a school in Marseille, France. The flag of Morocco is in the upper right hand corner.
Anti-Semitism ‘exploding’ in France – watchdog

Netanyahu’s former foreign and defense minister, Avigdor Lieberman, also weighed in on Monday, writing on X: “I appeal to all Jews in France: Come and live in Israel!”

Leftist leader Jean-luc Melenchon, whose New Popular Front emerged with the largest parliamentary faction in the French election, is perceived by right-wingers as soft on Islamism. In an address on Sunday, he vowed to recognize the State of Palestine “as quickly as possible” after forming a government.

Le Pen is well known for her hardline stance on Muslim immigration, and the National Rally has embraced a pro-Israel foreign policy in recent years. Last month, Bardella told reporters that the party would not recognize a Palestinian state, as to do so “would be to recognise terrorism.”

France is home to around 440,000 Jews, making its Jewish community the world’s third-largest, according to figures from the Jewish Agency for Israel. The influx of Muslim immigrants to France from the 1960s onwards has led to friction between the two communities, with a glut of murders and attacks on Jews taking place in recent years.

July 10, 2024 at 11:22PM

Most Popular Articles