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France taps Jewish lawyer to serve as first-ever female speaker

Lazar Berman is The Times of Israel's diplomatic reporter

President of the Laws Commision at the French National Assembly Yael Braun-Pivet holds a paper flower offered by a man at the 'Centre de Retention Administrative' (CRA), a migrant detention center in Vincennes, eastern Paris, on September 18, 2019. (STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN/AFP via Getty Images)
President of the Laws Commision at the French National Assembly Yael Braun-Pivet holds a paper flower offered by a man at the 'Centre de Retention Administrative' (CRA), a migrant detention center in Vincennes, eastern Paris, on September 18, 2019. (STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN/AFP via Getty Images)

France’s lower house of parliament has chosen Yael Braun-Privet, a lawyer who went to Jewish school in Strasbourg, to serve as its speaker.

Braun-Privet, whose Jewish grandparents fled to France in the 1930s, is the first woman to hold the post of National Assembly speaker. She is a member of President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist Ensemble coalition, despite the ruling alliance losing its majority in recent legislative elections.

Braun-Privet, 51, has been a member of the Assembly’s France-Israel friendship group since 2017, and has visited Israel several times.

Elected in 2017 after living in Asia for several years, the mother of five served as the president of the National Assembly Law commission, and briefly as minister of the Overseas Territories.

The lawmaker received antisemitic hate mail last year. In addition to referencing death camps, the message said, “This time, it’s the Muslims who will deal with you.” Also, “Jews can no longer come into some neighborhoods. Within two generations it will be whole cities. Demography determines laws.”

She is now the fourth-most highly ranked official in France after the president, prime minister, and Senate speaker.

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