France’s president Francois Hollande denied a report in French satirical newspaper Le Canard Enchainé that claimed he had told reporters that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “turned a memorial service in Toulouse into an election rally.”
A senior aide to Hollande sent a message to one of Netanyahu’s associates last week, telling him that the article was false and that the leaders’ relationship is strong.
The paper had published an unsigned article which said that Hollande made the comment to reporters during a flight to Beirut last week.
The item concerns a visit that Netanyahu made together with Hollande to the Jewish school in Toulouse where Mohammed Merah, a radical French Islamist, killed three children and a rabbi in March.
Israel Radio reported that journalists present on the plane confirmed that Hollande had indeed made the statement, but that it was not for attribution.
The previous edition of the Le Canard Enchainé reported ordinary Frenchmen were unhappy about Netanyahu’s visit.
The paper also reported that Hollande said that Netanyahu was “obsessed with Iran.” During his speech, the Israeli prime minister called Hollande a “friend” and thanked him for his “determination” in fighting anti-Semitism.