Socialist Francois Hollande won the second and decisive round of France's presidential election on Sunday, but French nationals residing in Israel voted overwhelmingly for ousted French leader Nicolas Sarkozy.
Official results show that 92.8% of French nationals residing in Israel voted for Sarkozy (9,186).
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Gad Bukovza, 62, who immigrated to Israel from Paris in 2009, said the "dire economic situation, Sarkozy's personality and the media, which made fun of him – all tilted the scales in Hollande's favor."
Gilad Shalit, a French citizen, voted in Haifa (Photo: Avishag Shaar-Yashuv)
Bukovza, who works for an organization that helps French immigrants integrate into Israeli society, said he did not believe the vote's results will encourage more French Jews to make aliyah.
"There is an insufficient number of good jobs for young Jews who would consider moving to Israel," he explained. "Many French Jews who made aliyah returned to France due to the difficulties they encountered here. The possibility of earning a decent salary, which exists in France, does not exist here."
France's Jews supported Sarkozy (Photo: Reuters)
Meir Masri, another French national, said the Right's loss in the French election "puts the Jewish community there in an uncomfortable situation, because the vast majority of French Jews, including those who live in Israel, support the Right – and Sarkozy in particular.
"He was the first French leader to fully understand Israel's situation and supported it. France's Jews considered him a pro-Israel leader."
Sarkozy's loss also disappointed Cannes resident David Ben-Naim: "He always supported Israel and the Jews. His connections with the local Jewish community were well-known. Hollande is not as close to the Jewish community and Israel. Personally, I don’t expect anything from him."