Likud’s perennial rebel, MK Oren Hazan, is at it again, this time offering a public endorsement of French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen, and sparking the ire of some in his party.Hazan wrote in French with Tricolore emojis on Twitter: “I support Madame Le Pen in the debate this evening, also in the second round, to build the future of France.”
Madame Le Pen, au débat ce soir j'apporte mon soutien, aussi au second tour - pour la construction de l'avenir de la France @MLP_officiel— אורן חזן (@oren_haz) May 3, 2017
Hazan’s last international endorsement, before the far-right French candidate, was US President Donald Trump, whose victory he predicted months before Trump even won the Republican primary.The Likud MK presented his support for Le Pen and Trump as being good for Israel, because they are tough on Islamic terrorism.“In today’s reality, when everyone is attacking us, here’s someone who is trying to connect the Israeli-Palestinian, so-called, conflict with global Islamic terrorism,” Hazan told The Jerusalem Post Thursday. “We had Trump in the US, and we need more partners. Her battle against radical Islam is in our joint interest... We need more Trumps around the world.”Hazan also said that Le Pen is good for France, because “at the rate it’s going it’ll be like Sweden, on the way to being a Muslim state... with areas police are afraid to enter... France needs a strong leader.” Such leadership will help French Jews be more secure, he added, saying they are afraid to wear Jewish symbols, like a kippa, in public.In addition, Hazan said he respects Le Pen’s “French for Frenchmen” ideas: “I also think Israel is for the people of Israel, not Ishmael.”Soon after Hazan’s tweet, Likud Foreign Affairs director Eli Hazan (no relation) came out against the lawmaker.“Oren Hazan represents Oren Hazan,” the Likud official wrote on various social media. “His support for Le Pen does not represent the Likud. The vast majority of Likud people that I know, including myself, support [center-left presidential candidate Emmanuel] Macron. The end.”Several Israeli politicians said they met Macron and had positive things to say about him. Interior Minister Arye Deri met Macron when both were economy ministers and said he was impressed by the “young, energetic, very friendly and very professional” man.Labor leadership candidate MK Erel Margalit said he and Macron discussed “how to build a start-up nation,” and said the French politician wants a two-state solution that will be a “win-win” for both sides.Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid called Macron his friend, and warned against supporting Le Pen, pointing out that she denied France’s role in the Holocaust.Hazan shrugged off Le Pen’s statement that France was not responsible for the “Vel d’Hiv” Roundup, the 1942 deportation of Jews from Paris, saying that her associates said she was misinterpreted. “It’s not that I love her so much, it’s that the enemy of my enemy is my friend,” he said. “There’s no argument that her father is an antisemite and I condemn that... but I think it is in our joint interest to bring security to French Jews and fight global terrorism.”“If they turn on the Jews, we’ll know how to deal with it,” Hazan added.Gil Hoffman contributed to this report.
Projections say Macron, Le Pen go through to runoff in French vote (credit: REUTERS)