French presidential candidate has Jewish campaign manager-turned-lover, expecting child

Sarah Knafo, 35 years younger than Éric Zemmour, is now expecting a child.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

French Jewish candidate Éric Zemmour, who is the most right-wing candidate running for the presidency in Sunday’s elections, has a Jewish campaign manager-turned-lover 35 years his junior who is now expecting their child.

Sarah Knafo, 28, has more in common with Zemmour than their joint heritage as descendants of North African Jewry.

Neither feels particularly Jewish, with Zemmour publicly saying that his co-religionists should be loyal to France, first and foremost. And although she attended a Jewish high school, Knafo said in a 2016 interview, “I can identify with Éric Zemmour’s trajectory for assimilation and his detachment from the Jewish identity. My religion is Jewish, but I feel my culture is Christian.”

A graduate of two elite French universities, Knafo has been an admirer of Zemmour since her teenage years, according to sources cited by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA).

A great part of his party’s platform that she is promoting, with some significant success, is virulently anti-immigrant.

The campaign also slams the current government for being too soft on crime, which it has blamed mostly on Muslim citizens who refuse to assimilate into the prevailing culture.

Knafo may have an emotional connection to this messaging. According to the JTA report, citing a French media profile, her mother was the victim of a violent assault on the street when she was pregnant with Knafo’s younger brother, who was subsequently born with a severe disability.

Zemmour, a former television personality, has been convicted three times for hate speech, with the most recent ending in January in a $11,400 fine for inciting racial hatred in September 2020.

He told a TV news channel that child migrants were “thieves, killers, they’re rapists. That’s all they are. We should send them back.”

Zemmour decried the ruling as a violation of his right to free speech, and his lawyer said he would appeal the verdict.

Just this week, Zemmour accused the authorities of possibly covering up a crime involving an attack by a Middle Eastern-looking gang on a Jewish man in a Paris suburb. The victim was struck by a tram and died as he tried to escape the beating.

France being France, it is an interesting question as to whether having a lover is hurting or helping the married Zemmour, who has three grown children with his Jewish wife.

If he is to have any chance of getting into the second round of elections, he will have to gain support not only from the far right, but also from the mainstream conservative sector of the population.

The 63-year-old candidate tried to keep details of his alleged affair with Knafo out of the media. He sued Closer magazine in November based on his right to privacy but lost. In September, he sued to keep a different magazine from running a picture of himself and Knafo sharing an intimate hug in the ocean but was similarly unsuccessful, and the photo ran on the front cover.