According to report issued early this week, most French Israelis currently residing in Israel voted for incumbent president Nicholas Sarkozy. Those same reports indicated that French Jews living in France did the same during the French presidential election held over the weekend.
There are about 57,000 French Jews living in Israel who are eligible for voting in French elections, much like Americans who will be able to vote in the US presidential elections that will be held in November 2012. Approximately 10,000 cast votes in the present election and 93% percent of the vote – 9,186 votes - was for Sarkozy rather than for his socialist opponent Francoise Hollande, who received a mere 713 votes. Voting was held in the French Consulate, as well as in stations in Tel Aviv, Haifa, Netanya, Beersheva and Ashdod, where there are large French-speaking communities. However, the trend was not reflected in other countries as most expatriate French voted like their countrymen.
Reports also explained the French-Israeli vote’s favoritism toward Sarkozy being linked to his actions toward obtaining the release of Gilad Shalit from captivity as well as his connections to the Jewish community and understanding of the delicate political situation in Israel. Those same reports also aired views of different Jewish communities in Israel once Hollande declared victory and most were negative and said that Hollande has no connection to will likely do nothing positive in regards in Israel.
The most severe reaction came from President of the French Jewish Community Richard Prasquier, who indicated that Hollande’s victory boosts France’s anti-Israel left. According to Prasquier, French Jews’ concern about Hollande comes from the support given by the anti-Israel parties, most of whom include virulently anti-Israel and borderline anti-Semitic Palestinians. He also indicated that many of the parties likely to be included the French Parliament will be anti-Israel or will place Israel and Iran low on its priority list, unlike Sarkozy who held a firm right-wing stance on Iran and its nuclear program.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu congratulated Hollande on his victory yesterday and expressed hope that France would continue to support Israel as well as continue the friendly relations between the two nations.