Israeli and Jewish leaders have welcomed Emmanuel Macron’s re-election and far-right leader Marine le Pen’s defeat in the second round of Sunday’s presidential election in France.
Macron took 58% of the vote against Le Pen’s 42%, according to provisional figures released by authorities overnight.
The contest, which was a re-run of the 2017 election, saw Le Pen markedly increase her share of the vote from the 33% she received five years ago.
Francis Kalifat, the head of the French Jewish umbrella body Crif, said it was “a relief to see that Marine Le Pen was blocked from reaching power – but this time we were seriously worried.”
He told Haaretz: “We were concerned because some people, like [far-left presidential candidate] Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who got 22 percent in the first round of voting, had made ambiguous statements, refusing to call on their supporters to vote for Macron.”
ברכות לחברי הטוב @EmmanuelMacron שנבחר לכהונה נוספת לנשיאות צרפת.
מקרון הוא מנהיג חשוב מהנהגת המרכז העולמית וחבר אמת של ישראל.
נמשיך לעבוד יחד ולחזק את שיתופי הפעולה בין המדינות שלנו???????????????? pic.twitter.com/q57CeWhmzi
— יאיר לפיד – Yair Lapid???? (@yairlapid) April 24, 2022
Ahead of the election Crif had endorsed Macron and issued a public call urging all French citizens to vote against Le Pen.
Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennett congratulated Macron in a tweet on Monday in which he said “under your leadership, I have no doubt that the ties between Israel and France will continue to grow stronger.”
Foreign Minister Yair Lapid tweeted a picture of himself embracing Macron, describing the French president as “my good friend”.
“President Macron is an important leader of the global centre and a true friend of Israel. We’ll continue to work together to strengthen cooperation between our countries,” Lapid wrote.
Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt from the Conference of European Rabbis said: “Congratulations to President Macron on his re-election. However, the fact that more than 40% voted for a far-right candidate is troubling.”
The European Jewish Congress extended “warm congratulations” to Macron in a statement.
“President Macron’s win is a victory for sane and moderate politics,” said Ariel Muzicant, the group’s new president. “Today, mainstream and healthy democratic politics again defeated extremism and division.”
Congratulations to President Macron on his re-election. However, the fact that more than 40% voted for a far-right candidate is troubling.
— Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt (@PinchasRabbi) April 24, 2022
Eric Zemmour, a Jewish far-right candidate in the contest who did not make it to the second and final round Sunday, called for unity among supporters of the French right to win future elections.
“There will be no victory without alliances between all the parts of the right-wing bloc,” said Zemmour, who had called on his supporters to vote for Le Pen.
Le Pen’s father Jean-Marie, who founded the National Front in the 1980s, is a Holocaust denier with a long record of making antisemitic statements.
Marine Le Pen succeeded him in 2011 and ejected him from the party, which she renamed National Rally, several years later. She had promised to be a “shield” for Jews against radical Islam.
Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.
Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.
For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.
Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.
You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.
100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...
Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.
There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.
In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.
Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.
In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.
Voice of our community to wider society
The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.
We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.