Le Pen: French Jews Will Have to Give Up Israeli Citizenship

Leading contender in French election tells interviewer she won't allow dual citizenships with non-European countries. Asked specifically about Jews and Israel, she said: 'Israel isn't an EU member.'

French presidential election candidate for the far-right Front National (FN) party Marine Le Pen poses prior to take part in the show "L'Emission politique", in the studios of French television channel France 2 in Saint-Cloud, west of Paris, on January 9, 2017.
THOMAS SAMSON/AFP

In a France ruled by the far-right Marine Le Pen, Jewish citizens will be forced to give up their Israeli citizenship, the Front National party leader said on Thursday.

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Le Pen, a leading contender in the upcoming French presidential contest, told France 2 TV that if elected, she will not allow French citizens to hold on to any citizenship in a non-European country. When asked specifically about Israel and Jews, who form a large community in France, the Front National party leader responded: "Israel isn't a member of the European Union, and doesn't consider itself as such," and therefore a dual French-Israeli citizenship will not be allowed.

>> Israel or France? Dual citizens appalled after Le Pen says they may have to choose >>

Le Pen said that the ban will also apply to citizens of the U.S. and North African countries, but that dual citizens of the EU and of Russia, which she said is part of she termed the "Europe of nations," will be exempted.

A recent poll showed Le Pen advancing to the second round of balloting in May but still losing handily to front-runner Emmanuel Marcon. Her political party, the National Front, was founded by her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, who routinely minimized the Holocaust.

The younger Le Pen has sought to move the party past her father’s controversies, but French Jewish leaders still consider the National Front anti-Semitic.

Last week, Le Pen said French Jews should give up the wearing of yarmulkes as part of the country’s struggle to defeat radical Islam.

In an interview with Israel’s Channel 2, Le Pen expressed support for banning the wearing of yarmulkes as part of her broader effort to outlaw religious symbols in public.

“Honestly, the dangerous situation in which Jews in France live is such that those who walk with a kippah are in any case a minority because they are afraid,” Le Pen said, using the Hebrew word for yarmulke. “But I mainly think the struggle against radical Islam should be a joint struggle and everyone should say, ‘There, we are sacrificing something.’”

Referring to French Jews, Le Pen added: “Maybe they will do with just wearing a hat, but it would be a step in the effort to stamp out radical Islam in France.”