Macron criticises Israeli minister's support for Marine Le Pen | Election news

Israel's Diaspora Affairs Minister Amichai Chikli publicly backed far-right candidate Marine Le Pen ahead of France's parliamentary vote.

French President Emmanuel Macron has denounced “unacceptable” comments made by an Israeli minister who publicly promoted far-right candidate Marine Le Pen ahead of France’s parliamentary elections.

Israeli media reported that Diaspora Affairs Minister Amichai Chikli said the leader of the National Rally party would be “excellent for Israel.”

An angry Macron called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to complain about the comments.

“I think Netanyahu and I have the same opinion. It's not a personal matter,” Chilkli said.

Le Pen's support is based on her positions on Hamas, the International Criminal Court – where Israeli leaders face accusations of war crimes – and “the Jewish community's fight against anti-Semitism,” Chilkli said.

The French president told Netanyahu that Chikli's comments were “unacceptable” and he considered them interference, two sources familiar with the phone call told the Axios news site.

The call reportedly ended with Netanyahu pledging to avoid further statements by his ministers on France's internal affairs.

An unnamed Israeli official described Chikli's behavior as a “diplomatic bombshell,” according to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

Le Pen and the National Rally have taken a pro-Israel stance on foreign affairs in recent years in an attempt to distance the party from accusations of anti-Semitism, after her father and party founder once referred to Nazi gas chambers as a “detail of history.”

Foreign Minister Israel Katz tweeted during the second round of voting that Israel “is not involved in the French elections and respects French democracy.”

Marine Le Pen, candidate of the French far-right National Rally party, casts her vote [File: Yves Herman/Reuters]

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