While many Jews may gravitate to the Socialist candidate in the upcoming elections, few are likely to vote for Le Pen, whose far-right party is seen as hostile to Jews despite her attempts to distance the party from its anti-Semitic past and its founder, her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen. Le Pen, who wants to outlaw public Muslim prayer, has tried to court Jewish voters, but Jewish community leaders say they won’t bite.
“We won’t vote for the National Front,” CRIF President Richard Prasquier said flatly at his group's dinner.
Frida Zeitouni, 62, a member of the Women’s International Zionist Organization, says that judging from the chatter at the dinner and among her friends, most French Jews will vote for Sarkozy. But in the south of France, where there are more tensions between Jews and immigrants of North African and Muslim backgrounds, Le Pen’s pitch may actually appeal to Jewish voters, Zeitouni said.
“There are a lot of immigrants, and the Jews there have had enough,” she said. “That’s why Prasquier says over and over, ‘Don’t vote le Pen!’ because some Jews will because there are so many Arabs.”