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No Jewish Vote in France, Crif Leader Says

The Council of Jewish institutions of France (CRIF) does not intend to “advise” French Jewry how to vote in the forthcoming presidential elections. In an official communique, CRIF president Jean Rosenthal said “There is no Jewish vote” in France, adding, like all French citizens, Jews “will determine their vote according to their political convictions.”

Rosenthal indicated he had requested Interviews with the major presidential candidates for some time next week. These include Gaullists Jacques Chaban-Delmas and Giscard d’Estaing, and Socialist Francois Mitterrand. During these talks, Rosenthal said, he will ask the candidates to make public statements on certain “subjects particularly close to the Jews,” especially in the field of “social Justice, individual liberties and the fight against racism.”

Rosenthal said he hoped the candidates would publicly condemn the oppression of Soviet Jews and that the next French government would denounce Syria’s treatment of Jews as hostages. As for France’s pro-Arab policy, Rosenthal called “understandable” its need to protect its economic interests, but, at the same time, said France “must not consider Israel an enemy.”

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