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France's Jewish Community: In a State of Fear

PARIS-- CENTER-RIGHTIST Emmanuel Macron, 39, who was voted in by 66% to 34% over the farright Marine Le Pen, is France’s youngest national leader since Napoleon Bonaparte more than 200 years ago.

Exit polls indicated that France’s half million Jews, Europe’s largest Jewish community, voted for Macron by about 90% to Le Pen’s 10%, but he was not their first choice. Their preferred candidate was former right-wing premier François Fillon, whose platform was especially strong against Islamic fundamentalism. However, Fillon, the initial favorite to win the election, became mired in a sudden corruption scandal that resulted in his elimination after the first of two rounds of voting.

Macron, who will be the European Union’s youngest head of state, has never held elected office before and only created his “En marche!” (Onwards) movement a year ago.

“His rise has been absolutely extraordinary,” marveled conservative politician Jean-François Copé, a son of Jewish immigrants from Romania and Tunisia, speaking on TV. “Every political figure has had to surmount obstacles, but what this man has accomplished is equivalent to having crossed the Red Sea dry-footed,” said Copé, jokingly comparing Macron’s achievements to those of the biblical prophet Moses.

But, for many French Jews, the vote took place under a new pall of uncertainty and anxiety after the murder in Paris on April 4 of an Orthodox-Jewish French physician, Dr. Sarah Halimi, 66.

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