Paris had asked Netanyahu ‘not to attend’ rally

'Hollande wanted to keep the Paris rally’s focus on solidarity with the victims rather than the Israeli-Palestinian conflict'

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was asked not to attend yesterday’s Paris rally as per a message sent by French President Francoise Hollande’s office, the Haaretz newspaper reported on Monday.

Hollande wanted to keep the rally’s focus on solidarity with the victims rather than Jewish-Muslim relations or the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a source familiar with the correspondence between the Elysee Palace and the Netanyahu’s office told the Israeli daily.

Jacques Audibert, the French president’s national security adviser said he hoped Netanyahu would understand the difficulties his arrival may impose, adding that he hoped the PM would announce that he would not be attending.

Netanyahu obliged and said he will not be flying to Paris for the rally.

Additionally, the source revealed that the French feared Netanyahu would capitalize on his attendance for political purposes, making speeches about French Jews, which Paris believed would hurt the purpose of the rally.

These concerns were not included in the message sent to the PM’s office.

However, upon realizing that Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Economy Minister Naftali Bennett would be attending the rally, Netanyahu reversed his statement and announced his intent to be in Paris for the rally.

When the Israelis informed Audibert of Netanyahu’s intentions, the source said the security advisor responded in anger saying that the PM’s decision would leave a negative impact on ties between France and Israel.

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