JERUSALEM (JTA) — Louis Aliot, vice president of France’s National Front party, is visiting Israel to try to drum up support for Marine Le Pen in elections this spring.
Le Pen is the leader of the controversial political party founded by her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen. She has been trying to distance herself and the party from the anti-Semitic and xenophobic opinions expressed by her father, who once called the Nazi gas chambers a “detail of World War II.” He was convicted in Germany for inciting racial hatred for the statement.
Aliot arrived in Israel on Monday for a 48-hour visit. He and Le Pen have been a couple for the last two years, according to the French daily Le Parisien.
Aliot met with about 40 French Jews in order to present them with Le Pen’s platform. He also met with some Israeli political officials, none Knesset members, according to Haaretz, and visited the Western Wall. He was scheduled to visit churches in Bethlehem on Tuesday.
"This is the first time a National Front leader has visited Israel. It’s true that relations were tense for a time, but it’s time to warm up the atmosphere," Aliot told Haaretz.