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June 5, 2018 10:36 am

‘Fight, Fight and Fight Antisemitism,’ Israeli PM Netanyahu Encourages French Jews at Paris Meeting

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Demonstrators in Paris gather in memory of Mireille Knoll, a Holocaust survivor brutally murdered in an antisemitic assault. Photo: Reuters / Gonzalo Fuentes.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with French Jewish leaders in Paris on Tuesday morning, as he began the second day of a three-day European visit.

Netanyahu told a delegation led by Francis Kalifat — the president of CRIF, the French Jewish representative organization — that they were meeting during “a happy moment,” after seven decades “of ties between Israel and France.”

“These ties were critical in the first years of the state when our existence was not self-evident,” Netanyahu remarked. “It is never self-evident but always borders on the miraculous. We must act to ensure the miracle and France’s assistance in the first years of a young Israel — in terms of weapons, planes and additional cooperation — will be forever etched in the chronicles of the nation.”

Netanyahu added that the late Israeli statesman Shimon Peres, who was Israel’s primary point of contact with the French government as defense minister during the early 1950s, “spoke very often with me about those years and it was a great honor for both him and France.”

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Netanyahu also spoke of a “human link, thanks to the glorious Jewish community here, which has contributed greatly to both France and Israel.”

“I am very moved by the fact that we have 180,000 immigrants from France,” the prime minister said, pledging to fight the “awful bureaucracy” newcomers face as they rebuild their professional careers in Israel.

Netanyahu also addressed the issue of antisemitic violence “in Europe in general and France in particular,” asserting that “these attacks have ancient roots even though their expressions are new.”

“Against this there needs to be one thing: Fight it. Fight, fight and fight,” Netanyahu declared.

He continued: “The main thing that must be understood is that it never ends with the Jews. Jew-hatred always spreads to a greater problem; therefore, it is possible to recruit others, for both moral reasons and the future of society.”

Netanyahu noted that antisemitism was one of the key items to be discussed in his meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron.

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