Saying ‘anti-Semitism defeated,’ Israelis fete Macron victory
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'An important defeat of fascism, anti-Semitism and empty populism,' says ex-defense minister Peretz

Saying ‘anti-Semitism defeated,’ Israelis fete Macron victory

Officials from across political spectrum congratulate new French president after rout of far-right candidate Le Pen; Netanyahu says two will work together against terror in Paris and Jerusalem

A French citizen residing in Israel walks past election posters of independent centrist French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron (L) and far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, as he arrives to cast his vote at the French consulate in Tel Aviv, on May 7, 2017 during the second round of the French presidential polls. (AFP/ JACK GUEZ)
A French citizen residing in Israel walks past election posters of independent centrist French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron (L) and far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, as he arrives to cast his vote at the French consulate in Tel Aviv, on May 7, 2017 during the second round of the French presidential polls. (AFP/ JACK GUEZ)

Israeli lawmakers from across the political spectrum welcomed the victory of centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron in France’s presidential election on Sunday, breathing a sigh of relief over the defeat of far-right candidate Marine Le Pen.

Pro-European Macron overwhelmingly won France’s landmark presidential election, according to first estimates, heading off a fierce challenge from the far-right in a pivotal vote for the future of the divided country and Europe.

“I look forward to working with President Macron and together to take on the shared challenges of our two democracies,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement which included his congratulations.

“One of the greatest threats facing the world today is extremist Islamic terror, which carries out attacks in Paris, Jerusalem and many other cities around the world. Israel and France have a long-standing alliance and I am sure that we will continue to deepen our connections,” said Netanyahu.

French president-elect Emmanuel Macron (C) and his wife Brigitte Trogneux (R) greet supporters in front of the Pyramid at the Louvre Museum in Paris on May 7, 2017, after the second round of the French presidential election. (AFP PHOTO / POOL / Thomas SAMSON)
French president-elect Emmanuel Macron (C) and his wife Brigitte Trogneux (R) greet supporters in front of the Pyramid at the Louvre Museum in Paris on May 7, 2017, after the second round of the French presidential election. (AFP PHOTO / POOL / Thomas SAMSON)

Le Pen’s National Front, with a history of anti-Semitism, had been eyed warily in Israel, with politicians mostly avoiding engaging lawmakers from the far-right group despite attempts by Le Pen to make common cause over the fight against radical Islam.

French president-elect Emmanuel Macron waves at supporters in front of the Pyramid at the Louvre Museum in Paris on May 7, 2017, after the second round of the French presidential election. (AFP PHOTO / POOL / THOMAS SAMSON)
French president-elect Emmanuel Macron waves at supporters in front of the Pyramid at the Louvre Museum in Paris on May 7, 2017, after the second round of the French presidential election. (AFP PHOTO / POOL / THOMAS SAMSON)

Initial estimates showed Macron winning between 65.5% and 66.1% of ballots, with Le Pen taking between 33.9% and 34.5% in the runoff election.

Knesset speaker Yuli Edelstein tweeted congratulations to Macron and wished France “success and prosperity under his leadership.”

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely wrote that she was “looking forward to continuing Israel’s close relations with France.”

Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon and Yesh Atid party head Yair Lapid also both sent out congratulatory messages.

Zionist Union number two Tzipi Livni, a former foreign minister, tweeted, “Congratulations to Emmanuel Macron, the president of an enlightened France.”

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