[QODLink]
Europe

Hollande 'criticised Netanyahu' over memorial

France's president accused Israeli PM of turning memorial service in Toulouse into an election event, newspaper says.
Last Modified: 08 Nov 2012 18:39
Hollande, left, reportedly said Netanyahu had transformed the Toulouse ceremony into an electoral meeting [Reuters]

Francois Hollande, the French president, has accused Binyamin Netanyahu, Israel's prime minister, of transforming a memorial service for Jews slain by a gunman in southwestern France into a campaign meeting, according to a French newspaper.

The two leaders attended a highly emotional service last week for a rabbi and three Jewish schoolchildren shot dead by al-Qaeda inspired killer Mohamed Merah on March 19 in the city of Toulouse.

Hollande said Netanyahu, who faces legislative polls in January, had hijacked the event.

"Netanyahu came to France to campaign and we knew that," Hollande told journalists in private remarks at the weekend which were later leaked by satirical weekly Canard Enchaine.

"Since I was there, he toned down his speech but it wasn't good to transform this ceremony into an electoral meeting," he told the journalists in the private conversation "It wasn't appropriate."

Netanyahu had compared the gunman to Nazis and warned that Israel could defend its people from those "who want to erase us from the map." He ended his speech with the slogan "Israel will Live!"

Netanyahu enjoyed close ties with Hollande's right-wing predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy until a G20 summit in November last year when he branded the Israeli leader "a liar" in a private conversation with US President Barack Obama.

"I cannot bear Netanyahu, he's a liar," Sarkozy said, unaware that the microphones in their meeting room had been switched on.

Obama, according to the French interpreter, replied: "You're fed up with him but I have to deal with him even more than you."

France is home to between 350,000 and 500,000 Jews, according to various estimates. Since the creation of Israel in 1948, more than 90,000 French Jews have settled there.

274

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Muslim volunteers face questioning and threat of arrest, while aid has been disrupted or blocked, charities say.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
ISIL combatants seeking an 'exit strategy' from Mideast conflict need positive reinforcement back home, analysts say.
European nation hit by a wave of Islamophobia as many young fighters join ISIL in Syria and Iraq.
Featured
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Since she was 16-years-old, Scottish Nationalist Party's Sturgeon has strove for independence from the UK.
Armed group's ransom success with German hostages marks a re-emergence, as authorities investigate ISIL links.
Western nations are moving into the resource-rich country after decades of disinterest, challenging China's interests.