Paris rabbinical court dissolves marriage of women waiting 29 years for religious divorce

(JTA) – A rabbinical court in Paris officially dissolved the marriage of a Jewish woman who for 29 years had tried unsuccessfully to obtain a religious Jewish divorce from her abusive ex-husband.

The move Tuesday by the rabbinical court of Paris at the seat of the Consistoire religious group was hailed as a success in the fight for women’s rights by French Chief Rabbi Haim Korsia, according to the French-language edition of the news website Times of Israel. [Read more…]


Macron’s party boots politician over anti-Israel tweets deemed anti-Semitic

(JTA) – The party of France’s President Emmanuel Macron withdrew from its parliamentary elections ticket a politician who made statements deemed anti-Semitic.

Christian Gerin, a journalist, was taken off the En Marche ticket Friday, a day after he was nominated to represent the party in next month’s elections for the French parliament, in connection with messages he wrote in 2013, throughout last year and this year on Twitter. [Read more…]


French mayor shuts down Holocaust exhibition deemed elections propaganda

(JTA) – A French mayor closed down an exhibition on the Holocaust at the urging of far-right politicians from the National Front party, who said it constituted illicit campaigning near a ballot on elections day.

Gilbert Lorho, the mayor of the town of Ploeren, which is located approximately 280 miles west of Paris, ordered the closure of the exhibition on police officers who saved Jews during the Holocaust on May 7, the day when millions of Frenchmen participated in the final round of the presidential elections. [Read more…]


French Jews ‘relieved’ Macron won but worried over Le Pen’s electoral gains

(JTA) – Leaders of French Jewry expressed relief at the defeat of the far-right candidate Marine Le Pen in the presidential election but concern that she received more than a third of the vote.

Le Pen, whom the chief rabbi of France and the CRIF umbrella of Jewish communities have decried as dangerous to democracy and minorities, received 34.2 per cent of the vote compared to the 65.8 per cent for the centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron, according to a report by Le Monde based on exit polls from Sunday’s final round of the elections. [Read more…]


French citizens living in West Bank get official letters addressed to Palestinian territories

(JTA) – French citizens living in the West Bank received official letters from the French Foreign Ministry addressed to the Palestinian territories.

The settlement residents were among thousands of French people in Israel who received the letters urging them to vote in Sunday’s election in France. Israel’s Channel 2 reported that some letter recipients decided not to vote due because their residence on the letter was designated as Palestinian territories and not Israel. [Read more…]


French chief rabbi joins multi-faith clergy endorsement of Macron

(JTA) – France’s chief rabbi joined Muslim and Christian faith leaders in an unusual endorsement of the centrist presidential candidate Emannuel Macron against the far-right hopeful Marine Le Pen.

Rabbi Haim Korsia’s office issued the endorsement Thursday, a day after a remarkably acrimonious televised debate between the two candidates ahead of the May 7 runoff. Titled “Call to Vote for Mr. Emmanuel Macron,” it was co-signed by Pastor François Clavairoly, president of the Protestant Federation of France, and Anouar Kbibech, president of the French Council of the Muslim Faith. [Read more…]


Marine Le Pen’s party boots leader over Holocaust denial quote

Jean-François Jalkh, left, has been replaced at the top of France’s far-right National Front party by Steeve Briois, Henin-Beaumont’s mayor and a European Parliament member. (Jacques Demarthon/AFP/Getty Images)
Jean-François Jalkh, left, has been replaced at the top of France’s far-right National Front party by Steeve Briois, Henin-Beaumont’s mayor and a European Parliament member. (Jacques Demarthon/AFP/Getty Images)

Jean-François Jalkh, left, has been replaced at the top of France’s far-right National Front party by Steeve Briois, Henin-Beaumont’s mayor and a European Parliament member. (Jacques Demarthon/AFP/Getty Images)

(JTA) – The leadership of the far-right National Front party in France replaced its pick for interim president following reports he had denied aspects of the Holocaust.

Jean-François Jalkh, who took Marine Le Pen’s place at the helm this week temporarily in connection with her campaign ahead of the May 7 runoff in the presidential elections, was replaced on Friday, two days after his appointment, by Steeve Briois, the mayor of Henin Beaumont and a member of the European Parliament, the Le Point magazine reported.

On Thursday, the Le Monde daily reported that Jalkh is disputing the veracity of quotes attributed to him in an interview from 2000 in which he was quoted as questioning the use of the Zyklon B poison by Nazis during the Holocaust to kill Jews.

“Personally, I think that it is impossible from a technical point of view to use for mass extermination,” he said of the use of Zyklon B in gas chambers. “Why? Because it takes several days for a place where Zyklon B was used to be decontaminated.”

Louis Aliot, the life-partner of Marine Le Pen and a senior National Front member, did not offer an explanation for the decision to replace Jalkh, whom Aliot said “did not make the statements” attributed to him.

“We condemn these sort of views,” Aliot added.

Claims based on bogus science and chemistry especially is a tactic of Holocaust deniers, notably David Irving of the United Kingdom.

According to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem, “Zyklon B was delivered to the camps in crystal pellet form. As soon as the pellets were exposed to air they turned into poisonous gas. A Nazi equipped with a gas mask would empty the crystals into the packed gas chamber through a small opening. Within minutes, the victims were dead.”

National Front’s founder, Jean-Marie Le Pen, has several convictions for denying aspects of the Holocaust, as well as for inciting racial hatred against Jews.

His daughter, who succeeded him in 2011 as party leader, has attempted to rehabilitate the party’s image, condemning the Holocaust and distancing herself from her father’s anti-Semitic rhetoric. But last month she said that “France is not responsible” for its authorities’ actions during the Nazi occupation, when French police officers helped Nazis round up Jews and send them to be murdered.

Under Marine Le Pen, the National Front has seen a purge in which dozens of members were kicked out of the party for making anti-Semitic statements or expressing revisionist views about the Holocaust. She kicked her father out of the party in 2015 for making anti-Semitic statements about a Jewish singer, whom Jean-Marie Le Pen said should “go into the oven.”

National Front won just over 21 per cent of the votes in the first round of the presidential elections on April 23, trailing the centrist, independent candidate Emmanuel Macron by two points. It was the best result in the history of National Front, which made it to the second round for the first time in 2002, when Jean-Marie Le Pen won 18 per cent of the vote in the first round.

In a poll from earlier this week conducted by Paris Match, CNews and Sud Radio, 60.5 per cent of respondents said they would vote for Macron on May 7, compared to 39.5 per cent who said they would vote for Le Pen.