Bennett, Lapid congratulate 'friend of Israel' Macron on French presidential election win

Bennett, Lapid congratulate 'friend of Israel' Macron on French presidential election win
Israeli politicians across the political spectrum congratulated Macron, with foreign minister Yair Lapid calling him 'a friend of Israel'.
2 min read
25 April, 2022
Tel Aviv congratulated French President Emmanuel Macron for his re-election on Sunday night [Israeli Government Press Office (GPO)/Anadolu Agency via Getty]

Israeli leaders and cabinet members congratulated "friend of Israel" French President Emmanuel Macron for his presidential election victory against his far-right rival Marine Le Pen on Sunday.

Macron won around 58 percent of the vote in the second round of the election, seeing him win another term as president.

The centrist has defended Israel against claims of being an apartheid state and is a strong ally of many of Israel's regional allies, such as the UAE and Egypt.

"I have no doubt that the ties between Israel and France will continue to grow stronger," Prime Minister Naftali Bennett wrote in a tweet to congratulate Macron.

"Macron (...) is a true friend of Israel," Israeli foreign minister Yair Lapid wrote on Twitter.

Defence Minister Benny Gantz, Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked, and other officials also warmly hailed Macron's victory.

Israeli experts say relations between the two countries thrived during Macron's first tenure, expanding cooperation in the sciences, education, medicine, and culture.

Macron also spoke out against Amnesty International’s damning report published earlier this year, which found Israel to be an 'apartheid state'.

Presidential election rival Marine Le Pen won the biggest share of votes ever achieved by a far-right candidate in France, at almost 42 percent. She ran on a populist and anti-European platform, promising to slash immigration and roll back the rights of French Muslims.

Her father and political predecessor as leader of the far-right, Jean-Marine Le Pen, was notoriously anti-Semitic. He once called the Holocaust a "detail" in history, causing outrage in France and beyond.

Although Le Pen distanced herself from these positions, her growing popularity in France over the past decade has been a matter of concern for the Jewish community in France and French Jews in Israel.

Macron's re-election was also marred by an abstention rate of 28 percent- the highest recorded in a presidential election since 1969.