At Beit Migdalor in Tel Aviv on Sunday, French-Israelis voted to choose a deputy from the 8th Constituency in France’s National Assembly.

Both candidates, Socialist Daphna Poznanski-Benhamou and Valerie Hoffenberg of the center-right UMP, visited the polling station in the building at the corner of Allenby and Ben-Yehuda streets.

Poznanski-Benhamou won, and will represent French citizens living in Israel, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Malta, San Marino, the Vatican and Turkey.

She is 62, a mother of three including one Sabra, and a grandmother of three. Poznanski- Benhamou lives in Tel Aviv – but comes from Nice – and is a dual national who has lived in Israel for 32 years.

Hoffenberg lives in Paris and has family in Israel.

This correspondent met them both in Beit Migdalor, and arranged to conduct a telephone interview the next day with whoever won the race.

Daphna Poznanski-Benhamou, so you have won?

Yes, 53.3 percent against 43.7% of the vote, including the e-votes.

And in Israel in particular?

I have gathered 1,208 votes against 1,886 for Valerie Hoffenberg, not counting the evotes.

Your feelings this morning, the day after your victory? It is another page turning.

The campaign was very long and hard, it is the beginning of a new position for the French of the 8th Constituency.

I am elected to defend their rights and try to increase them. For example: the carte vitale [medical coverage card] for foreigners, the rights of handicapped people, the taxation of dual nationals that I am well aware of defending – having been a dual national myself for 32 years.

So the Israelis were less inclined to give you their votes?

I won everywhere else. I had the most votes in Turkey, where I felt at home as everywhere else, I was blessed by the chief rabbi there. In Italy I was very welcome.

Turkey, and yet you are Israeli...

I am a French deputy and will be the holder of a diplomatic passport very soon. It was not to elect a deputy to the Knesset but someone competent to defend the rights of French citizens living abroad.

They did not want a “parachutist” dropping into the country sometimes, they wanted someone close by.

So what do you think of this phenomenon?

I denounce all “parachutists” anywhere.

Including Segolene Royale?

Yes, including that one.

[Royale, the former life partner of French President François Hollande and the losing Socialist presidential candidate in 2007, lost in Sunday’s legislative election to a Socialist Party dissident, Olivier Falorni, in a district where she was considered an outsider, a “parachutist.”] It is a political principle. This is the explanation for the failure of “parachutists.” Out of the 11 seats of our [overseas] constituencies we [the Socialists] won eight, and none of them is a “parachutist.” The opposition [the UMP], they have two out of three [deputies elected from outside France] “parachutists.”

What are you going to do now? I will go to Paris tomorrow morning, Tuesday. Then I will rent an apartment in Paris and I will spend half my time there, the other half in my constituency.

I will not be able to go home on Wednesdays as the French[-based] deputies do.

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