The National Front has its roots in French fascism and it has always had a racist and anti-Semitic image, but one of its representatives is in Israel to recruit supporters.
Louis Aliot, the partner of National Front presidential candidate Marine Le Pen, is in the country trying to persuade those eligible to vote in the French presidential election to give her their vote in this spring's balloting and to boost her image en route to the Elysee Palace.
"For us this visit is a precedent," Aliot told Haaretz. "This is the first time a National Front leader has visited Israel. It's true that relations were tense for a time, but it's time to warm up the atmosphere."
Aliot is on a 48-hour trip and on Monday visited the Western Wall.
The visit was first reported on the website JSS News.
On Monday, he also met with "a few elected officials and political figures who prefer not to be named." When pressed, he confirmed that none of the elected officials were Knesset members. On Tuesday he plans to visit churches in Bethlehem.
The high point of Monday's activities was his meeting in a Jerusalem hotel with 40 French Jews he said had invited him in order to hear Le Pen's platform. Marine Le Pen is the daughter of National Front founder Jean-Marie Le Pen, a far-right nationalist and former presidential candidate who periodically made xenophobic, anti-Semitic statements.More...