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Le Pen good for Israel, says country’s Diaspora Affairs minister

If Marine Le Pen were to become president of France, "in my eyes, this is good for the State of Israel with 10 exclamation marks," said Amichai Chikli.

Yamina Knesset member Amichai Chikli attends a Knesset House Committee discussion following a request by from the party for his ouster, April 25, 2022. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.
Yamina Knesset member Amichai Chikli attends a Knesset House Committee discussion following a request by from the party for his ouster, April 25, 2022. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.

Israeli Diaspora Affairs Minister Amichai Chikli (Likud) said on Monday that the rise of France’s National Rally Party under Marine Le Pen was good for the Jewish state.

If Le Pen were to become president of France, “In my eyes, this is good for the State of Israel with 10 exclamation marks,” Chikli told Israeli radio station Kan Reshet Bet.

“It seems to me that Netanyahu and I are of the same opinion,” he added.

Chikli noted that Le Pen participated in a Nov. 12, 2023 march against antisemitism, “a march that [French President Emmanuel] Macron chose not to attend.” Le Pen is also firmly opposed to Hamas and supports Israel against the international courts in the Hague, he said.

National Rally won a round of legislative elections on Sunday, taking about one-third of the vote in a historic first.

A second round of voting will take place on July 7. If National Rally performs well enough, it could form a stable government. In that event, Le Pen would not become president, as Chikli suggested, given that Macron’s term runs until 2027.

However, Le Pen’s protégé, Jordan Bardella, 28, would become prime minister. Bardella has made strong pro-Israel and pro-Jewish statements since Oct. 7.

National Rally has come a long way since it was known as National Front and headed by Marine Le Pen’s father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, who was convicted of Holocaust denial. His daughter expelled him from the party in 2015.

She has since distanced the party from its antisemitic past. In a June 22 op-ed in Le Figaro, she condemned the antisemitic rape of a Jewish girl, saying an attack on the Jews of France is an attack on all French. “By attacking a part of us, they are attacking us! Let us never doubt it,” she wrote.

Even as National Rally wins over Jewish voters (figures like famed Nazi hunter Serge Klarsfeld and public intellectual Alain Finkelkraut suggest voting for National Rally is perhaps necessary for French Jews), France’s far left has grown more stridently anti-Israel, with one of its leaders, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, having been accused of outright antisemitism.

Macron has teamed with the far-left in order to prevent another National Rally success, leading to a sense of betrayal among some French Jews.

Macron himself has made troubling anti-Israel moves, most recently barring Israel from attending last month’s Eurosatory, an international defense show held every two years near Paris. 

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