Who will be Israel’s ambassador to France? A top candidate is Benjamin Touati, one of the most senior pro-Israel players in Europe, The Jerusalem Post has learned.
Touati, 46, made aliyah from Marseilles after graduating high school, and currently lives in the Har Homa neighborhood in Jerusalem with his wife and seven children.
He is the deputy CEO of ELNET (European Leadership Network), an organization that acts as a “mini-AIPAC” in Europe.
He is a candidate on behalf of the Sephardi ultra-Orthodox Shas Party, as well as of senior figures in Likud. Touati also served as the senior emissary of the Jewish Agency and World Bnei Akiva in France.
His candidacy was received positively among members of the French-Jewish community, who wouldn’t speak publicly to avoid appearing to interfere in the process. The fact that Touati grew up in France and has been involved in issues regarding the country for decades will position him well on the issues facing the community.
He has both diplomatic connections and positive relations with the Jewish community, which many new ambassadors lack.
There has been criticism in the French-Jewish community that outgoing Ambassador Yael German did not speak French fluently.
About Touati's company ELNET
ELNET’s goal is to strengthen the connections between European countries and Israel, and Touati has been instrumental in promoting these relations on a diplomatic, strategic, security and economic level.
He is known for leading groups of influencers from across Europe, with an emphasis on French-speaking countries. Touati’s main focus in the past decade has been working with members of parliament, journalists and high-level investors, as well as experts in Israeli, European and American research institutes.
He has high-level government contacts in Europe, especially in France, where he is at times in direct contact with officials in the most senior positions. He was highly involved in bringing former French prime minister Manuel Valls to Israel.
Last week, Channel 12 reported that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been considering appointing Likud MK Boaz Bismuth to the position. The appointment has not been confirmed yet.
If Bismuth is appointed, a representative of the Druze faction of Likud will enter the Knesset. Likud does not have many political appointments left in foreign affairs due to a quota; the number of political representatives for these positions is few and limited.
At the time, Bismuth accused German of being “incapable of respecting the results of democratic elections” and criticized her absence from Netanyahu’s visit to France and his meeting with President Emmanuel Macron.
Touati declined to comment on this report.