Netanyahu honors French-Jewish WWII victims

Netanyahu joined French President Emmanuel Macron at a commemoration ceremony in Paris honoring French Jews who were deported during World War II.

On Sunday morning, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his delegation arrived in Paris to meet newly elected French President Emmanuel Macron.

The Israeli and French leaders joined other dignitaries at a commemoration ceremony in the French capital, honoring the memory of Jews who were deported in 1942 from Paris to the death camps in German-occupied Poland. Thirteen thousand Jewish citizens of France were arrested during the Vel d’Hiv roundup in July 1942, as part of the Nazi effort to eradicate French Jewry. Fewer than 100 of the 13,000 Jews survived and all 4,000 Jewish children were murdered.

During the recent French presidential campaign, Front National candidate Marine Le Pen told French media, “I don’t think France is responsible for the Vel d’Hiv.” French responsibility for the deportations of Jews during WWII, however, was recognized by former French President Jacques Chirac in 1995.

The first official meeting between Netanyahu and Macron was scheduled at the Élysée Palace around Sunday noon.

“We are strengthening our ties with countries on five continents — Asia, Africa, Australia, North and South America, but it is also very important to us to strengthen ties with European countries,” Netanyahu said before boarding the plane at Ben-Gurion Airport.

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Last week, Macron hosted Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas. After their meeting, Macron stressed France’s support for the two-state solution and criticized the expansion of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.

On Monday, Netanyahu is scheduled to become the first Israeli prime minister to visit Hungary since the end of Communist rule. In Budapest, Netanyahu is expected to meet Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, whose government has been criticized for not dealing sufficiently with anti-Semitism in Hungary.

The Israeli leader will also visit Budapest’s Dohány Street Synagogue and meet representatives of the local Jewish community.

By: Daniel Krygier, World Israel News