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France’s Macron slams Israeli minister’s backing of Marine Le Pen | Elections News

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Israel’s Diaspora Affairs Minister Amichai Chikli publicly supported far-right candidate Marine Le Pen before France’s parliamentary vote.

French President Emmanuel Macron has denounced “unacceptable” comments made by an Israel minister who publicly promoted far-right candidate Marine Le Pen before France’s parliamentary elections.

Israeli news outlets reported Diaspora Affairs Minister Amichai Chikli said the National Rally party leader would be “excellent for Israel”.

An angry Macron called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to complain about the comments.

“I think I and Netanyahu are of the same opinion. It’s not a personal matter,” Chilkli was quoted as saying.

Support for Le Pen is based on her positions on Hamas, the International Criminal Court – where Israeli leaders face accusations of war crimes – and “the Jewish community’s fight against anti-Semitism”, said Chilkli.

The French president told Netanyahu the comments by Chikli are “unacceptable” and considered interference, two sources familiar with the phone call told the Axios news site.

The call reportedly ended with Netanyahu’s commitment to prevent further statements from his ministers on France’s internal matters.

One unnamed Israeli official described Chikli’s behaviour as a “diplomatic bomb”, according to Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

Le Pen and the National Rally have taken a pro-Israel stance on foreign affairs in recent years in an attempt to move the party away from accusations of anti-Semitism, after her father and party founder once referred to Nazi gas chambers as a “detail of history”.

Foreign Minister Israel Katz tweeted during the second round of voting that Israel is “not involved in the French elections and respects French democracy”.

Marine Le Pen
Marine Le Pen, French far-right leader of the National Rally party candidate, casts her ballot [File: Yves Herman/Reuters]

 


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