PARIS (Dec. 26)
Nearly one French citizen out of 10 would vote against a Jew running for president, according to a poll recently published in the Jewish monthly periodical Passage.
However, some 87 percent of the respondents said their vote would not be influenced by the religion of the candidate. One percent would purposely vote for a Jew. Three percent had no opinion.
Of the 9 percent who admitted they would be opposed to a Jewish candidate, the largest segment — 34 percent — belonged to the extreme right-wing National Front led by Jean-Marie Le Pen.
Among the others who would vote against a Jew, 19 percent were Communists, 13 percent were neo-Gaullists and 5 percent identified themselves as Socialists.
The older generation accounted for 55 percent of the voters opposed to a Jewish candidate.
France has never had a Jewish president. But it has had three Jewish prime ministers since World War II: Leon Blum, who also served as prime minister before the war, Rene Meyer and Pierre Mendes-France.
Michel Debre, who was prime minister from January 1959 to April 1962, is the son of a converted Jew whose grandfather was chief rabbi of Neuilly, a suburb of Paris with a considerable Jewish population.
Laurent Fabius, who has been minister of industry and was prime minister from July 1984 to March 1986, is now president of the National Assembly. He is said to be considering running for the Socialist Party’s presidential nomination in the next elections.
Born in 1946, Fabius is from an old French Jewish family that converted to Catholicism after World War II. He is married to a Jew and has declared himself a friend of Israel.