PARIS (Jul. 19)
The Socialist government of Premier Laurent Fabius, no longer tethered to the Communist Party which was part of the coalition headed by former Premier Pierre Mauroy, is expected to adopt a stronger pro-Israel stance than its predecessor, diplomatic observers said here today.
Although foreign policy is the exclusive province of the President under the French Constitution, President Francois Mitterrand had been forced to take Communist opinion into consideration when he formulated it in the past.
“Now, with the Communists gone, the President will have an even freer hand in pursuing a strong pro-Western Atlantic line in Europe and the Middle East, the observers said. Mitterrand named Fabius to succeed Mauroy after the latter’s sudden resignation this week and the Cabinet has been reshuffled.
Among the four Communist ministers dropped was Charles Fitterman, Minister of Transport, who was born in Lille, the son of Jewish immigrant parents from Poland. He is slated to replace Georges Marchais as Secretary General of France’s Communist Party.
Fabius has reappointed another Jew who held a senior Cabinet post in the Mauroy government, Justice Minister Robert Badinter. Gaston DeFerre, a non-Jew but a warm friend of Israel, lost his portfolio of Minister of Interior but remains a Minister of State and is the highest ranking Cabinet member after the Prime Minister. Minister of Culture Jack Lang, who is Jewish, is expected to keep his post which is classified as a junior ministry.
Fabius himself is of Jewish origin. His father, who runs one of Paris’ most fashionable art and antiques gallery, converted to Catholicism before the 37-year-old Premier-to-be was born. But Jewish sources here stressed today that his mother never converted and according to halachic interpretation, Fabius is and remains a Jew. His wife is Jewish and his children are considered Jewish according to Jewish law.