Marine Le Pen, the head of France’s National Front party and a presidential candidate, appeared to backtrack on Tuesday on her proposal to abolish dual citizenship in France.
Le Pen, who was on a two-day visit to Lebanon, spoke in a lengthy interview with the French-language Lebanese paper L’Orient-Le Jour and was quoted by Haaretz.
In the interview, she said she believes dual citizenship holders must decide which country is their real homeland, “but I’m not locked into abolishing dual citizenship.”
She added that she would permit dual citizenship if France and the other country in question had signed an agreement related to the matter.
Le Pen was criticized several weeks ago after she said in an interview that, if elected president, she would move to prohibit dual citizenship for citizens of non-European countries.
Relating the case of Israel, where as many as 250,000 first and second generation French immigrants reside, Le Pen said no exception would be made.
“Israel is not a European country and doesn’t consider itself as such,” she told France 2 TV.
“I’m asking the Israelis to choose their nationality. It doesn’t mean that if they don’t choose French nationality they have to leave. France can certainly accommodate foreign people on its soil long-term… as long as they respect French laws and French values, which is often a problem on the immigration issue. It’s really not a problem with Israel on this topic,” she continued.
French MP Meir Habib responded to Le Pen’s remarks by saying, “Besides the illegal aspects of this initiative, I would like to remind Mrs. Le Pen of the enormous debt Europe owes the Jewish nation. I would like to remind her that Israel is a kind of ‘life insurance’ policy for Jews everywhere in the world.”
“Even if you don’t like it, we will never demand that French-Israeli citizens choose between France and Israel,” Habib stressed.
Former MK Shmuel Plato Sharon later estimated that if Le Pen is elected and indeed abolishes dual citizenship, as many as half of the Jews in France would likely leave the country.
“Le Pen would be a catastrophe, but good for Israel because the majority of Jews will come here. It would be difficult because it’s not simple for an established family with a livelihood to uproot and move to Israel, but they have no choice,” he told Arutz Sheva.
- France arrests three suspected terrorists
- Three wounded in stabbing attack in southern France
- France ‘worried’ by Trump’s position on Israel
- France doubles down on two-state solution
- ‘Le Pen victory would send half of French Jews to Israel’
- French MP: Israel is a life insurance policy for Jews everywhere