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October 23, 2014 / 29 Tishri, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘hollande’

Hollande Visits Graves of Victims of Toulouse Jewish School Attack

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

French President Francois Hollande visited the Jerusalem graves of the victims of the attack on a Toulouse Jewish school on Tuesday, accompanied by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and members of the Sandler and Monsonego families.

Rabbi Jonathan Sandler, 30; his children Gabriel, 6, and Aryeh,3; and Miriam Monsonego, 8, were killed in March 2012 when radical Islamist Mohammed Merah entered the Ozar HaTorah school in the city in southwest France and shot at students and teachers.

The school slayings came a few days after Merah gunned down three French soldiers in two drive-by shootings from a scooter near Toulouse.

Merah was shot dead three days after the school shooting during a standoff with police. He had admitted to the shootings, saying they were in retaliation for Israel’s alleged treatment of Palestinian Authority Arabs.

Peres and Netanyahu ‘Parlent Francois’ to Hollande

Sunday, November 17th, 2013

President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu practiced out their French Sunday to welcome French President Francois Hollande at Ben Gurion Airport Sunday.

Hollande suffered the Israeli accent, assuming he is like most Frenchmen, who shiver whenever a foreigner tries to pretend he can speak French.

Hollande returned the compliment and told Prime Minister Netanyahu, in Hebrew, that he would “always remain a friend of Israel.”

Netanyahu said, “Vive la France, vive l’Israel, vive l’amitie entre la France et l’Israel” after showering Hollande with praise in English for Paris’ stand against the Iranian and Syrian regimes.”

President Peres went all out and said, “Je suis heureux de vous recevoir en Israel à vous exprimer, au nom de tous les Israéliens, nos souhaits les plus vifs de la plus amicale et la plus chaleureuse des bienvenues. Votre visite, Monsieur le Président, met en lumière et votre attachement à Israel, et l’estime profonde qui lie nos deux peuples.”

The translation, more or less, is, “I am happy to receive you in Israel and to express in the name of all Israelis the kindest and most amiable greetings and warmest welcome. “

Having run out of superlatives, he continued in French, “Your visit, Mr. President, highlights your attachment to Israel and the profound esteem that binds our nations.”

For clinchers, he told Hollande, “The soul of France is equality” and then switched to English to explain, “I can add that the description that ‘equality is the soul of France’ accompanies me almost from birth. That is indeed France. A beating heart that gave to the world three irreplaceable words; liberty, fraternity and equality. The people of Israel owe France a great debt for standing by our side in times of peace and of war. For allowing the development of the Israel’s defensive force. Especially in the first years of the state, when we needed France more than at any other time.

“The gates of the world were closed to the survivors of the Holocaust. The countries that voted in favor of the creation of the State of Israel refused to provide even one gun for our self-defense. It was the France of the ‘resistance’ that broke the embargo which was placed upon Israel and allowed us to bring immigrants to Israel. It was France that stood by Israel’s side during our War of Independence. Enthusiastically, with the support of its citizens, its soldiers, its writers and its leaders France allowed us to defend ourselves as a sovereign state and to build a new society.”

The warm praises that the President and Prime Minister showered on Hollande, and the praise of Israel by the visiting president, contrast sharply with frigid relations nine years ago when then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon openly called on Jews in France to flee anti-Semitism and come to Israel to live.

Things have changed since then, such as the threat of a nuclear Iran even if anti-Semitism remains.

“We are full of admiration for your unflinching stance to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon for mass destruction. Iran seeks to dominate the Middle East with nuclear arms and long range missiles,” said President Peres, sparing Hollande from more ear-crunching French.

But he insisted on concluding in French and said,  “Vive la France. Vive Israel. Vive l’amitié entre la France et Israel.”

Islamists Planned to Honor Toulouse Terrorist Via Fresh Plot

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

From Reuters yesterday:

Three suspected Islamist militants arrested in southern France appeared to be planning an attack in the days ahead, the Paris prosecutor said on Monday, the anniversary of an al Qaeda-inspired shooting that rocked France. Police found weapons and explosives at the home of one of the suspects in the town of Marignane, near Marseille, and intercepted communications between the men suggested they were close to going into action, prosecutor Francois Molins said. The three men, who were taken in for questioning last week with a fourth man who was later released, were to be placed under formal investigation later on Monday… The timing of the arrests was poignant, coming exactly a year after 23-year-old gunman Mohamed Merah began a rampage that killed three Jewish children, a rabbi and three soldiers in the southern city of Toulouse. He was subsequently tracked down and killed in a shootout with police… Molins said the arrested men, in their 20s, wanted to emulate Merah. “It was clear they were training themselves in making explosives based on a jihadist radicalisation, a glorification of Mohamed Merah, and an affirmed desire to go into action.”

A year after the murderous Merah rampage, TIME Magazine reviewed what we more-or-less know now:

Twelve months after the series of attacks — which concluded with Merah’s own death after a 32-hour siege — the country is still learning details about the self-proclaimed al-Qaeda member’s transformation from petty hood to violent jihadist. Perhaps most disturbing among those revelations are indications that the nation’s domestic intelligence agency identified Merah as a potential security risk as early as 2007, yet failed to prevent the mass killings of March 2012.

According to the Time article,

In comments earlier this month, France’s Socialist Interior Minister Manuel Valls acknowledged that his predecessors had made “errors, failings, and faults” in handling Merah…

There’s something sadly familiar about political figures looking back at terror attacks that occurred when their rivals were in charge and declaring that it was all handled badly. Has France learned something from the Merah terror rampage? The terrorists of Hezbollah and their civilian auxiliaries are operating right under the noses of the French today. Are the ministers of the Hollande government doing something about it? If yes, what?

Visit This Ongoing War.

France in a State of National Depression

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

France is the sick man of Europe — at least, that is how the French themselves apparently see it. Last month, a survey published in the leading newspaper, Le Monde, found that a large majority of the French believe that France’s economic power and cultural influence have declined over the past decade. One in every two Frenchmen seems to have lost hope, evidently convinced that the decline of France — economic as well as cultural — is “inevitable.”

The French also seem to have lost faith in democracy. Le Monde described the survey’s findings as “alarming.” Three-quarters believe that French democracy is not working well. 62% believe that their politicians are corrupt. The survey indicated that authoritarianism is widely supported, by the Left as well as the Right. More than 70% of the French want a strong leader – a “real chef” – to restore order. So do, obviously, not only 97% of the right-wing Front National party voters, but also an astonishing 98% of the voters of the center-right Union for a Popular Movement, the party of former president Nicolas Sarkozy, and 70% of the voters of the governing Socialist Party of President François Hollande.

A quarter of the French want to withdraw from the European Union; two-thirds want to limit the E.U.’s power and take a stronger stand in favor of France’s own interests. A majority of the French favor economic protectionism; 70% are convinced there are too many foreigners in the country, and 62% no longer feel as at home in their own country as they used to. Front National party leader Marine Le Pen said the survey shows that “The French agree with us.”

Dominique Reynié, a professor of political science at the renowned Paris Institute of Political Studies [Sciences Po], describes the general sentiment, visible in the survey, as “ethno-Socialism.” This is a Socialism that strives for Keynesian full employment and an elaborate social security system, underpinned by nationalist policies.

The survey also showed that 74% of the French consider Islam incompatible with French society, and 25% say that Judaism is incompatible with French society. Among the latter there might be a significant number of Muslims. Nevertheless, the figure is disconcertingly high. 11% consider Catholicism incompatible with French society.

According to the historian Michel Winock, another professor at Sciences Po, “the French are afraid.” They are afraid of unemployment, economic decline, globalization, the E.U., immigrants, Islam. They are suffering from a “profound despair,” which makes them long for strong leadership. In 2007, they voted for Sarkozy in the hope that he would be this strong leader. Last year, they voted for Hollande who promised a national resurgence. In both cases, they were sorely disappointed.

The national malaise also visible in the survey can be seen elsewhere in French society as well. The French are depressed: they are the world’s largest consumers of anti-depressants — twice as much as their English neighbors and three times as much as their German neighbors.

The feelings of national depression were not eased when two weeks ago Michel Sapin, the French Minister of Labor, said in a radio interview that the French state was “totally bankrupt.” Though technically not officially bankrupt yet, France has five major financial headaches.

First, there is the rising government debt. Between 1974, when Valéry Giscard d’Estaing became President of France, and today, France’s national debt rose from 21% to 90% of GDP. This year, interest payments on government debt amount to €45 billion, the largest item in government expenditure, and higher than the total education budget.

Second, there is the pension problem. France has a pay-as-you-go pension system. In order to keep future pensions payable, the French government either has to raise the working population’s pension contributions by 1.1%, cut actual pensions by 5%, or raise the retirement age, currently at 60, by 9 months. Last June, President Hollande cut the retirement age from 62 to 60, reversing the raise introduced by his predecessor Sarkozy in 2010. Minister Sapin, a pragmatic Socialist, opposed this move, but Hollande felt compelled to fulfill his electoral promises.

Third, there is the labor market. 18% of France’s active population is unemployed. Over half a million people have been out of work for more than three years. Three years ago, fewer than 300.000 people were in this situation. Wage costs are too high, productivity is dropping, and talented people are leaving France to work abroad.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/france-in-a-state-of-national-depression/2013/02/19/

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