French flags 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Yves Herman)
Roger Cukierman, 76, was elected president of the Representative Council of
Jewish Institutions (CRIF) in France on Sunday, beating out Toulouse community
head Arie Bensemhoun in the second round of voting with 61 percent of the
Cukierman previously served as CRIF president for back-to-back
three-year terms between 2001 and 2007.
He replaces Richard Prasquier,
who has served for the past six years as president of the
Cukierman has a PhD in economics and formerly was the CEO
of the Edmond de Rothschild Group, has served as a vice president of the World
Jewish Congress, director of the Fondation pour la Memoire de la Shoah and vice
president of the Alliance Israelite Universelle.
As president of CRIF, he
gains a seat on the board of the Claims Conference.
Cukierman is no
stranger to controversy, having said in 2002 that despite far-right nationalist
French presidential candidate Jean- Marie Le Pen’s anti-Semitism, the Jewish
community had a common interest in combating Muslim immigration.
time, he was quoted as saying that a Le Pen victory would at least have the
effect of minimizing Muslim violence against French Jews.
He later told
French newspaper Liberation
that his comments were “taken out of
Following his election, Cukierman said he would work “under the
sign of a relentless, constant and determined fight against anti-Semitism and
the respect of memory,” according to Le Parisian.
“I want a CRIF
stronger, strictly independent and open to the civil society as a whole,” he
European Jewish Congress President Moshe Kantor congratulated
Cukierman, saying that he “represents a wealth of knowledge and experience which
will be necessary for French Jewry in the years ahead.”JTA contributed
to this report.