JTA — A French satirical newspaper reported that French President Francois Holland said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “turned a memorial service in Toulouse into an election rally.”
The satirical weekly Le Canard Enchainé published an unsigned article which said that Hollande made the comment on an airplane 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.
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.
According to TF1, a French television network, Hollande’s decision to join Netanyahu in Toulouse was last-minute and unplanned.
Netanyahu also raised the ire of Hollande’s predecssor, Nicholas Sarkozy, last year. In November 2011, Sarkozy was captured on an open microphone telling US President Barack Obama he did not like the Israeli prime minister.
“I cannot stand him. He’s a liar,” Sarkozy said during what he thought was a private conversation on the sidelines of the G20 conference in Cannes.
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.