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Jewish reaction mixed to Hollande victory in France

(JTA) — Jewish reaction was mixed to the election of the Socialist Party’s Francois Hollande as the president of France.

The European Jewish Congress congratulated Hollande, who was elected Sunday over Nicolas Sarkozy with 51.7 percent of the vote to 48.3 percent for the incumbent.

“Our recent meeting with Mr. Hollande was very constructive and touched on many areas of concern to the Jewish community,” EJC President Moshe Kantor said in a statement. “I believe we have a sympathetic ear in the new French leadership and we look forward to continuing this relationship with the new president.”

Richard Prasquier, president of the CRIF umbrella group of French Jewry, told reporters Monday in New York that he was concerned that Hollande’s election would lead to a rise in the anti-Israel left.

“We know that some of the parties who are supposed to be partners of the coalition in favor of Francois Hollande are not friends of Israel. The part they will play we will see,” he said, according to the Jewish Press.

More than 92 percent of French nationals who voted in Sunday’s election at the French Embassy in Tel Aviv cast their ballot for Sarkozy, the center-left candidate, according to reports.

Israeli President Shimon Peres congratulated Hollande on his victory.

"On behalf of the Israeli nation, it is a pleasure for me to send my sincere congratulations on your election to the post of President of France. I am confident that under your leadership, the French people will look to the future with hope, security and a spirit of unity."

Hollande became the first Socialist president of France in nearly two decades. Sarkozy, of the Union for a Popular Movement party, was considered the favored choice among French Jews.

Sarkozy conceded shortly after the polls closed, wishing his successor luck in handling difficult times in France and in Europe.
 

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