Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu Congratulates French President-Elect Macron, European Jews Express Relief At Defeat of The Extreme-Right Candidate

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu congratulated French President-elect Emmanuel Macron for his electoral victory. 39-year-old pro-EU centrist Macron defeated extreme-right rival Marine Le Pen on Sunday with roughly 65.5% of the vote in the second round runoff

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu congratulated French President-elect Emmanuel Macron for his electoral victory.

39-year-old pro-EU centrist Macron defeated extreme-right rival Marine Le Pen on Sunday with roughly 65.5% of the vote in the second round runoff.

“I congratulate Emmanuel Macron on being elected President of France. I look forward to working with President-elect Macron to confront the common challenges and seize the common opportunities facing our two democracies. One of the greatest threats facing the world today is radical Islamic terror which has struck Paris, Jerusalem and so many other cities around the world. France and Israel are longtime allies and I am sure that we will continue to deepen our relations.”

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein tweeted congratulations to Macron and wished France “success and prosperity under his leadership.”

Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely wrote that she was “looking forward to continuing Israel’s close relations with France.”

Former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, one of the leaders of Zionist Union, tweeted, “Congratulations to Emmanuel Macron, the president of an enlightened France.”

European Jews, who had feared a victory of te extreme-right, expressed relief at Macron’s election.

“We congratulate Emmanuel Macron and the French people on a victory against hate and extremism,” said European Jewish Congress President Moshe Kantor. “This was a vote for France, for the European Union and for democratic values.”

“Never has a major European country faced such a challenge to its most basic value system of tolerance and democracy since all of Western Europe was dominated by fascism in the Second World War. We applaud the French people for facing this challenge with the full force of French democracy and the core values of the Republic,” he added.

‘’French Jews are very positive about the result, they didn’t want Le Pen to win, so they are happy with that,” declared Dov Maimon, from the Jerusalem-based Jewish People Policy Institute (JPPI).“Maybe 5 or 10% voted for her, but 90% percent were against her with good reason.”

During the electoral campaign, Marine Le Pen had advocated banning the wearing of kippot in public places, measures against Jewish ritual slaughter and a ban on dual nationality for French Jews living in Israel

Francis Kalifat, president of Crif, the representative umbrella group of French Jewish institutions, tweeted his congratulations at Macron. “It all starts now,” he said.

Michel Gurfinkiel, former editor-in-chief of weekly magazine Valeurs Actuelles and president of the Jean-Jacques Rousseau Institute in Paris, said that while the majority of Jews are pleased by Marine Le Pen’s defeat, ‘’ a majority will still be concerned about their future.’’

Gurfinkiel said that while Macron had made several statements to reassure the Jewish community in the run-up to the election, many Jews remain nervous about some of his key political allies. Among them is the secretary-general of Macron’s En Marche! political movement, veteran socialist politician Richard Ferrand. According to Gurfinkiel, Ferrand donated 2,ooo Euros to a Palestinian solidarity group in 2016 and he is said to be a supporter of the anti-Israel BDS movement. Macron, for his part, has voiced firm opposition towards the BDS campaign.

According to Dov Maimon, “Macron is a supporter of multiculturalism, which in this case means more power for the Muslim community,” Maimon observed. “70 percent of French Muslims say they don’t like Jews.”

A 2014 poll conducted by CRIF found that over 70 percent of French Muslims believed that Jews “had too much power” over the nation’s media and financial system.