Labor leader Shelly Yechimovich showed affinity for her French Socialist
counterparts Thursday when she made France the destination of her first trip
abroad since she won the party’s leadership race last
Yechimovich became the first Israeli politician to meet with
French President François Hollande since he took office in May following the
victory of his Socialist Party. During the halfhour meeting at Elysee Palace,
which Israeli Ambassador Yossi Gal also attended, Yechimovich called on France
to increase sanctions on Iran.
“France is a key player in the Middle East
and has the power to influence developments in the region,” Yechimovich
She congratulated Hollande on his election victory and moves he has
taken to minimize the gap between rich and poor in his country. They also
discussed the Palestinian issue.
Earlier Thursday, Yechimovich met with
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and attended a meeting of the French
Socialist Party, which invited her to the country.
Yechimovich did not
inform members of her faction that she would be going to France. Prior to the
trip, she had not left the country for about three years.
She has come
under pressure over whether she will attend the Socialist International
conference next week in Cape Town, due to recent problems between Israel and
Currently, she is not expected to go. Labor will instead be
represented at the conference by former MK Colette Avital, a former diplomat who
heads the Labor Party’s international division.