Israeli president to visit France

26th January 2004, Comments 0 comments

JERUSALEM, Jan 25 (AFP) - Israeli President Moshe Katzav will visit France next month, it was announced Sunday, shortly after the Jewish state said the country had the most anti-Semitic incidents of any place in the world last year.

JERUSALEM, Jan 25 (AFP) - Israeli President Moshe Katzav will visit France next month, it was announced Sunday, shortly after the Jewish state said the country had the most anti-Semitic incidents of any place in the world last year.

Katzav who accepted an invitation from Paris to make the official visit between February 16 and 20 will meet with senior officials and the local Jewish community, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's office said in a statement.

Israel's minister for Jerusalem and diaspora affairs, Natan Sharansky, earlier Sunday said the number of anti-Semitic incidents recorded in France had doubled in 2003.

He said 47 percent of all such incidents registered in western Europe took place in France, and urged immediate action by the authorities in Paris.

"The French authorities have at their disposal one of the world's best legal systems for dealing with racism and anti-Semitism, and they must apply it and take immediate measures," he said.

Former French prime minister and current ruling party leader Alain Juppe on Sunday himself denounced the resurgence of anti-Semitism in France, which he said was linked to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

"It's crystal clear, the figures are there," Juppe said.

"We're seeing a new form of anti-Semitism that is not the type we've seen in the past, but one that is rooted, it has to be said, in the situation in the Middle East," he noted.

An estimated 500,000 Jews live in France, which has around five million Muslims out of an overall population of 60 million.

© AFP

                                Subject: France news

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