Israeli Lawmaker Tweets Support for French Far-right Leader Le Pen

MK Oren Hazan of Likud is the first Israeli lawmaker to publicly support Le Pen, who has been criticized by President Rivlin for denying France's responsibility for the murder of its Jews during the Holocaust

Likud MK Oren Hazan speaks at a Knesset committee meeting, April 25, 2017.
Lior Mizrahi

Oren Hazan became the first Israeli politician to openly voice support for the far-right French Presidential candidate Marine Le Pen on Wednesday when he took to Twitter to wish her success in the second round of the elections due to take place on Sunday.

The message, written in French and addressed to her official Twitter account reads: "Mrs Le Pen, I give you my support in tonight's debate, and in the second round [of the election] - for the construction of the future of France."

Hazan's explicit support for the candidate comes after President Reuven Rivlin criticized Le Pen last week for saying that France was not responsible for the roundup of Paris Jews during Holocaust.

French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen speaks during an interview with Reuters in Paris, May 2, 2017.
CHARLES PLATIAU/REUTERS

“The prevalent message arising from recent political statements is uniquely disturbing. And in every place that message is the same: We are not responsible for the Holocaust. We are not responsible for the extermination of the Jewish people which occurred within our borders,” Rivlin said during the closing ceremony of Holocaust Remembrance Day at Kibbutz Lohamei Hagetaot on the 24th of April.

"For example, a French presidential candidate denied France’s responsibility for the deportation of its Jewish citizens to the Nazi concentration and death camps,” he continued. “A member of her party denied not only French involvement in the deportation of the Jews to destruction, but their very murder."

Rivlin was not the only person to voice a warning of the candidate over Israel's Holocaust Memorial Day last week. President of the European Jewish Congress, Moshe Kantor, described Le Pen as "dangerous" and said that the Presidential candidate was "no less dangerous than her Holocaust-denying father who she has tried to hide."

Hazan's message comes at a time when the majority of Europe's Jews are wary of the growth of far-right parties across the continent, and of any legitimacy they may gain by forging ties with Israel.

According to Akiva Tor, head of the Bureau for World Jewish Affairs at the Israeli Foreign Ministry, Israel has so far given parties like France's National Front the cold shoulder. “Israel will not engage with those parties, even while they court its favor and acknowledgment. Our diplomats are not engaging with those parties at all,” he said during the World Jewish Congress' annual conference in N.Y.C. last week.

"Israel finds itself in a very difficult situation," the foreign ministry official said, when it is approached by parties such as Le Pen, who "claim to have purged themselves of anti-Semitism" and are seeking "a kosher stamp" of approval from Israel.