French MP to Netanyahu: Jews need French and Israeli borders to open

"This will encourage both individuals from both Israel and France to get vaccinated," said Habib.

French flag in France (photo credit: REUTERS)
French flag in France
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Meyer Habib, a French MP, expressed his worries regarding the future of solid diplomatic relations between Israel and France and the ways that French Jews could be affected, in a phone call to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
He offered a diplomatic solution: open up the borders.
"The Prime Minister (Netanyahu) expressed enthusiasm at initiating and advancing the procedure, after checking the legalities, and on the condition that this agreement between the two countries will work both ways: vaccinated Israelis, with a negative corona test, will be able to travel to France," Habib explained.
The steady rise in recent antisemitic incidents in France are concerning. Nearly a month ago, an Algerian man was arrested in Strasbourg for refusing to serve Jewish-owned businesses as a food courier.
He does "not serve Jews," and earlier that week had instructed his staff to cancel the food order.
In July, the World Zionist Organization (WZO) presented the Israeli government with a plan to bring 50,000 French Jews to Israel soon, with another half-a-million over the next few years.
"The situation in France is deteriorating every day," said WZO Deputy CEO Yaakov Hagoel at the time.
"The economic situation is worsening, antisemitism is rising and France is giving in to extreme Islamic Jihad," he added.
Habib, a longtime confidant and friend of Netanyahu, has a history of standing up for Israel in the French parliament, unashamed of his roots and his Judaism, and quick to defend criticisms of the state.
When Habib was criticized by French media in 2017 for his friendship with Netanyahu, who publicly supported him during his reelection campaign, he shot back with a callout of the double standard in then-US President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel publicly supporting Macron ahead of elections.
"They just reject everything connected to Judaism and Israel," he said at the time. "It's hard for them that they lost big-time."
He proposed a solution to the prime minister: adopt the relationship that Israel has with Greece to France.
"This will encourage both individuals from both Israel and France to get vaccinated," said Habib.  
The MP is deeply familiar with that relationship as he represents French expatriates living in the Mediterranean region, including Greece.
Just last week, an Israeli government official confirmed that Israel and Greece are on the way to opening Greece's borders open for Israelis who are fully vaccinated. The agreement would also apply in the reverse: Israel's borders would be open to vaccinated Greeks.
Will a deal like this come to fruition between Israel and France?
"I have already updated the French ambassador, and will address French President Emmanuel Macron within the next few weeks," Habib assured.
Lahav Harkov-Levine and Omri Ron contributed to this report.