Some 1,000 people gathered at French Ambassador Christophe Bigot’s residence in
Jaffa Thursday for the traditional Bastille Day soiree, including President
Shimon Peres and former captive IDF soldier Gilad Schalit.
accompanied by his father, Noam Schalit, and was greeted in person by
“I’d like to thank Gilad and his father, Noam, for coming,” said
Bigot in his speech.
The French ambassador said his country lent Schalit
its full support during the five years he was held prisoner by Hamas in Gaza. On
the matter of Iran, Bigot said Israel could count on French President François
Hollande in the same way it relied on former president Nicolas Sarkozy. A new
round of sanctions were aimed at pressuring Tehran to end its rogue nuclear
program, he added.
Peres, who addressed the crowd after Bigot, thanked
the ambassador – who will probably end his tenure this year – for his service to
the country and his support of the Israeli people. He said the social protest
movement in Tel Aviv was an echo of the French revolution. Two issues are of
paramount importance to Israel these days: the Iranian nuclear program and the
need for peace with the Palestinians, the president said.
did not speak publicly, patiently posed for pictures with well-wishers and shook
hands with dignitaries in the crowd.
While Bastille Day is on July 14,
the event was pushed up to July 12 due to the Sabbath.
The evening ended
with a fireworks display and the singing of French national anthem “La
Marseillaise” and Israeli national anthem “Hatikva.”