Fourteen polling stations in six cities across Israel were open on Sunday to enable Israelis with French citizenship to vote in the first round of the French presidential election.
The polls were erected in Tel Aviv, Netanya, Ashdod, Be’er Sheva, Eilat and Haifa.
In Netanya, about 7,000 people have the right to vote. Eliyahu Shimoni was one, and he spoke with Ynet whilst waiting in line for the ballot box. He was planning on voting for François Fillon.
Shimoni explained that his preferred candidate was “right-wing, the only person who can help us. He’s the most suitable for us. He even sent a message yesterday that he supports Israel, (and) is for peace and for two states. That’s what I think is best.”
Shimoni believes that the other three leading candidates would not be poor choices. “There’s the extreme right, Marine Le Pen, who is definitely not good for us. Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day, and that is important; we must not forget.
“On the other side, there’s (Emmanuel) Macron who is one of the candidates after Fillon, and there is the extreme left, (Jean-Luc) Mélenchon. He’s even worse than Le Pen.”
Claude Grundman Brightman also hopes Le Pen will not progress to the run-off election in a fortnight. But she said, “Macron will have a hard time governing. He’s currently alone, and the people who join him politically are so against each other. He was also the economy minister in the Hollande government, and he’s responsible for a lot of what happened economically.”
Despite her reservations, Grundman Brightman still intended to cast her vote for the politician who has never held elected office. “I hosted him three years ago, and I felt that I was dealing with an experienced, decent person.”
France’s ambassador to Israel, Hélène Le Gal, commented, “The four candidates are offering very different programs, so it’s hard because it’s different from other elections. I can’t say whom I’ll vote for, but I will certainly vote.”
(Translated and edited by J. Herzog)