Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged France to stand together with Israel against Iranian aggression in his discussion Monday with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.
Speaking at a joint news conference prior to their meeting, Netanyahu told Le Drian that in the wake of the “horrific” terror attack in Toulouse this past weekend, the people of Israel “stand with you. We grieve with you over the loss of innocent French lives, and of a true hero, the officer Arnaud Beletrame, a hero of humanity, not only a hero of France.”
Netanyahu spoke of the “loss of heroes, and the special pain that that entails,” and then he zeroed in on the issue foremost on his mind – that of Iran.
“We have to stand together against this terrorism that afflicts our world … we have to fight terror-sponsoring regimes wherever they are.
“The foremost terrorist-sponsoring regime in the world, in our region and beyond is Iran,” he declared. “We have to roll back its aggression, and it is vast, and we must ensure that Iran does not acquire nuclear weapons.”
He added, almost as an afterthought, “that we admire the position of successive French governments, successive French presidents and President [Emmanuel] Macron against antisemitism. It’s bold, it’s clear and it’s right,” he said.
Le Drian pointed out, “We have much in common. We fight the same fights against terrorism, antisemitism and – of course – for the security of the entire region.
“I had a very moving and difficult moment when I had just concluded my visit to Yad Vashem,” he said. “I heard about the outrageous murder of Mirelle Kanolin, a Holocaust survivor, in Paris.
“We cannot yet say if the motive for the murder was antisemitism but it is reasonable to assume, it will not be surprising and, therefore, this only strengthens the fact that this struggle has not ended, and that we will need to continue fighting against antisemitism,” he said.
“We have much to discuss together,” Le Drian added. “It cannot be said that this region is especially calm… we will discuss all of these issues in the same atmosphere of mutual confidence and the friendship that prevails between us.”