Israeli parliamentarians from across the political spectrum congratulated French President-elect Emmanuel Macron on his victory in the French presidential elections. The independent centrist and former economy minister won 65 percent of the votes counted compared to far-right rival Marine Le Pen who received 35 percent of the votes, according to interim results from the French Interior Ministry.
“I congratulate Emmanuel Macron on being elected president of France,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “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,” concluded Netanyahu.
Other Israeli well-wishers included members of the political right such as former Defense Minister Moshe (Bogie) Ya’alon and former Likud MK Gideon Sa’ar as well as opposition leaders such as Zionist Union MK Tzipi Livni and former Prime Minister Ehud Barak.
“Congratulations to Macron,” wrote Barak on Twitter. “Sanity prevailed, hope succeeded, France won. Will it be our turn soon?”
At the age of 39, Emmanuel Macron will be the youngest French leader since Napoleon Bonaparte. A former Rothschild banker and economy minister, Macron is a product of the French system who campaigned as an outsider. Pro-European, he described the politics of his movement, En Marche, as neither rightist nor leftist.
French Ambassador to Israel Hélène Le Gal told Army Radio on Monday morning that Macron would be very positive for Israel. According to Le Gal, Macron was “very impressed by the innovation and entrepreneurship” of the country when he visited Israel two years ago.
Likud MK Oren Hazan, the only Israeli MK to officially support Macron’s rival and right-wing nationalist candidate Marine Le Pen on account of her anti-Islamic rhetoric, also took to Twitter to express his hope that Macron “will be able to fight radical Islamic terrorism with a strong hand and with determination and perseverance and will do what is necessary to prevent its continued takeover of France.”
Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions (CRIF) President Francis Kalifat expressed the community’s relief over the presidential results. “This result shows, despite the security and economic context, the attachment of the French to republican values. The CRIF nevertheless reiterates that pro-republican forces must be vigilant in order to contain the populist and xenophobic surge in France.”
Marine Le Pen’s National Front Party has been known for its Holocaust revisionism, particularly by its former leader Jean-Marie Le Pen, Marine’s father. Despite the removal of her father from the party so as to soften its political image, the party still retains profound anti-Semitic and racial ideologies in its content. Less than a month ago, Marine Le Pen denied France’s responsibility for the Vel d’Hiv Roundup of Parisian Jews who were then sent to Nazi death camps during World War II.
Despite Macron’s easy victory, the normalization of the National Front party in the media and the elections, along with its win of almost 36 percent of the votes for either candidates, still remains a cause for concern for many, especially considering the fact that approximately 30 percent of registered voters did not go to the polls, the highest percentage since 1969.
While the Interior Ministry has released preliminary results, the official results will only be announced by the Constitutional Council on May 10, when Macron will officially be named the eighth president of the French Republic. The official transfer of power will take place on May 14 and the two rounds of elections for the 15th National Assembly will be held mid-June.