Channel 2 reported Monday that during Netanyahu's meeting with Sarkozy in Paris the latter said the prime minister should appoint Opposition chairwoman Tzipi Livni in Lieberman's place. "With her and (Defense Minister Ehud) Barak you can make history", he was quoted as saying.
"I have always accepted Israeli foreign ministers, and I loved to have Tzipi Livni here at the Elysee, but with (Lieberman) I can't," he was reported as saying with a wave of his hand.
When Netanyahu answered that "in private talks he sounds different" the French president reportedly replied, "In private talks Jean-Marie Le Pen is also a nice person."
When the prime minister rejected the comparison to extreme rightist Le Pen Sarkozy reportedly agreed that the comparison was not a just one.
The Prime Minister's Office stated to Ynet in response that "the prime minister does not react to the content of talks he holds, however he expresses his profound respect for the foreign minister".
Lieberman's public relations advisor, Tzahi Moshe, said Sarkozy's comments against the foreign minister were "serious and intolerable", as they constituted "the intervention of the president of a respected democratic country in the affairs of another democratic country".
"We expect every political institution in Israel to condemn this blatant intervention of a foreign country in our private affairs, no matter what its political stance," Moshe added.
A senior Foreign Ministry official called Sarkozy's alleged comments "shameless" and "irresponsible".
Speaking to Ynet, the official said "France has meddled in another democracy's affairs. This is intolerable. We don’t plan on asking for clarifications from Paris, but rather intend to ignore the matter entirely. I am certain that if you ask Israel's citizens who they want in charge of appointing their foreign minister, the answer will not be the French."