|Al-Ahram Weekly (Egypt); October 25, 2007
As if his marital challenges were not enough cause for concern, “Sarco the Sayan” has suddenly emerged as the most infamous accolade of French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
The influential French daily Le Figaro last week revealed that the French leader once worked for — and perhaps still does, it hinted — Israeli intelligence as a “sayan” (Hebrew for helper), one of thousands of Jewish citizens of countries other than Israel who cooperate with “katsas,” or Mossad case-officers.
A letter dispatched to French police officials late last winter — long before the presidential election but somehow kept secret — revealed that Sarkozy was recruited as an Israeli spy. The French police are currently investigating documents concerning Sarkozy’s alleged espionage activities on behalf of Mossad, which Le Figaro claims dated as far back as 1983. According to the author of the message, in 1978, Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin ordered the infiltration of the French ruling Gaullist Party, Union pour un Mouvement Populaire. Originally targeted were Patrick Balkany, Patrick Devedjian and Pierre Lellouche. In 1983, they recruited the “young and promising” Sarkozy, the “fourth man”.
Ex-Mossad agent Victor Ostrovsky describes how sayanim function in “By Way Of Deception: The Making and Unmaking of a Mossad Officer.” They are usually reached through relatives in Israel. An Israeli with a relative in France, for instance, might be asked to draft a letter saying the person bearing the letter represents an organization whose main goal is to help save Jewish people in the Diaspora. Could the French relative help in any way? They perform many different roles. A car sayan, for example, running a rental car agency, could help the Mossad rent a car without having to complete the usual documentation. An apartment sayan would find accommodation without raising suspicions, a bank sayan could fund someone in the middle of the night if needs be, a doctor sayan would treat a bullet wound without reporting it to the police.
And a political sayan? It’s rather obvious what this could mean. The sayanim are a pool of people at the ready who will keep quiet about their actions out of loyalty to “the cause”, a non-risk recruitment system that draws from the millions of Jewish people outside Israel.
Such talk sends chills down spines, especially Arab and Muslim ones. Indeed, the revelation did not go unnoticed in Arab capitals or come as much of a surprise. Paris can be a sunny place for shady people. When it comes to intelligence gathering on behalf of Israel, a question mark is immediately raised on the moral caliber of the person in question. But, how does this scandal influence France’s foreign and domestic politics?
It is of symbolic significance that Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was on a state visit to France in the immediate aftermath of Le Figaro ‘s exposé — ostensibly to discuss Iran’s nuclear agenda and the Palestinian question. Proud and prickly France under its supposedly savvy new president hopes to play a more prominent role in the perplexing world of Middle Eastern politics. On Monday, Sarkozy flew to Morocco, the ancestral home of many of France’s Jewry, soon after his Mossad connection was made public. There is no clear evidence that the revelation is to make France any more unpopular in the Arab world than it already is, especially not in official circles.
On the domestic front, however, there are many conflicting considerations. The Jews of France now display a touch of the vapours, in sharp contrast to the conceited triumphalism with which they greeted his election: “We are persuaded that the new president will continue eradicating anti-Israeli resistance,” Sammy Ghozlan, president of the Jewish Community of Paris pontificated soon after Sarkozy’s election. France is home to 500,000 Jews, mostly Sephardic Jews originally from North Africa and Mediterranean countries.
Sarkozy’s own maternal grandfather Aron Mallah, hailed from Salonika, Greece, and is said to have exercised considerable influence on his grandson. Even though raised as a Roman Catholic, “Sarkozy played a critical role in moving the French government to do what is necessary to address the ill winds that threaten the largest Jewish community in Western Europe,” noted David Harris, the executive director of the American Jewish Committee. Sarkozy, after all, was a political product of the predominantly Jewish elite neighbourhood of Neuilly-sur-Seine, where he long served as mayor.
France’s Muslim minority was far from surprised by Le Figaro ‘s revelations, even though some may have feigned disappointment. Others have been more forthright. “France is not run by Frenchmen, but by lackeys of the Zionist International who control the economy,” lamented Radio Islam, of militant Islamist tendencies. When Sarkozy was France’s minister of interior and clamped down hard on Muslim immigrants, calling mainly Muslim rioters “scum” in a widely-publicised interview, they retaliated by calling him “Sarkozy, sale juif [dirty Jew]”. Obviously there is no love lost between the five million-strong French Muslim community, the largest in Western Europe, and the French president. He has grounds for concern. He assiduously courts the Israelis. That much is known.
In the scientific annals of French politics there is a cautionary tale of pantomime. French presidents are not always what they seem. There are, however, two key observations concerning Sarkozy. One, is Sarkozy’s intention of implementing a “new social contract” between employers and employees, capital and labor. This smacks of Thatcherism. His determination to force a “cultural revolution” in the collective national psyche is a trifle farcical. And unprincipled to boot. He recently introduced legislation — in tandem with his pension cuts, calling for genetic profiling of immigrants to ensure any relatives intending to immigrate are linked genetically. The strategy appears to be to soften the blow of the social security cuts by appealing to xenophobic racism.
The state of race relations in France is an even more muddled picture than the devastating caricatures by French-African comedian Dieudonne suggest. He is notorious for playing the part of a Hassidic Jew who mimics the Nazi salute. Few politicians blame their troubles on cynical comedians, though, and Sarkozy is no exception. His fans point accusing fingers at the “irresponsible press”.
The real magic starts when you power Sarkozy with his ex-model wife. She, after all, played a part in the freeing of the Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian medical doctor. She, too, is of Spanish-Jewish ancestry. But, that may be nothing but an insignificant aside. France, generally, regarded their bust-up as something of a bad joke. Unlike the Americans, the French do not take the private lives of their presidents terribly seriously. There was the late François Mitterrand, for example. Hardly anyone in all France raised an eyebrow when it transpired that he had an illegitimate daughter. The French are more concerned with the ideological orientation and political affiliation of their president and are not in the least interested in their private affairs — at least not in any political sense.
The interesting twist, however, is that the contest between Cecilia and Nicolas Sarkozy is a comic cross between a lover’s tiff and the battle of the sexes. It appears befuddled French voters are being forced to turn a blind eye to their leaders’ antics. Sarkozy’s divorce follows hard on the heels of the separation of France’s first female presidential candidate Ségolène Royal, the “gazelle” of French politics, from her lifelong lover François Hollande barely a month after she lost the presidential race in May. Moreover, at the tender age of 19, Royal sued her father for his refusal to divorce her mother and pay alimony and child support. That was way back in 1972; barely a decade later she won the case against her father. Ironically, Royal’s own mentor the late French socialist president Mitterrand was notorious for his extra-marital affairs, the most conspicuous being his love affair with Anne Pingeot and subsequent disclosure towards the end of his life that he fathered an illegitimate daughter Mazarine with her.
And what of the voters? The latest hazard facing the French president has been his socio-economic policies. Sarkozy’s showdown with the trade unions threatens to turn into a deciding moment for France. Foreign policy, too, has come under much scrutiny. France has become fanatically Atlanticist under the presidency of Sarkozy. Although, unlike US President George W Bush, Sarkozy does not make much noise about his own dubious religious convictions. The commonest criticism of Sarkozy is that he is overly conscious of his religious heritage, a trait that is not appreciated by the fanatically secular French political establishment. France is culturally the most irreligious country in Europe, itself the most secular and anti-religious of the world’s continents.
For a politician acclaimed for his acumen, it is startling that Sarkozy has been tripped up by events he should have seen coming. His sagacity obviously failed him this week. Le Figaro let the cat out of the bag. And his wife, too, after shopping with Lyudmila Putin, the Russian first lady, apparently decided that she had had enough of being treated as “part of the furniture” and made their rift very public.
France is now in the awkward position of having no first lady. The 49 year- old former model, lawyer and political advisor is by no means media shy. “I gave Nicolas 20 years of my life,” she told the popular French magazine Elle in a special feature which she asked for personally, despite the awkwardness of its timing. She had long complained of being politically peripheralised. Troubling as that interpretation is, it is in a way a consoling one for Sarkozy. He is now free to handle his opponents without his maverick Cecilia breathing down his neck or, on the contrary, disappearing at crucial moments.
Even with his personal life in tatters, Sarkozy is obliged to hoist the French tricoleur high in the international arena. Which flag is it to be?
The above article can be found here: http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2007/868/in2.htm
‘French president has Greek-Jewish roots’
Chicago Jewish News; January 11, 2008
ATHENS–A new book detailing the Greek-Jewish roots of Nicolas Sarkozy shows political involvement for the French president’s family.
According to “Me, the grandson of a Greek,” a new book written by three Greek authors, two Sarkozy ancestors were members of the Greek Parliament in the early 20th century.
One of the authors is Leon Nar, a Jewish writer from Salonika, also known as Thessaloniki, the former hometown of Sarkozy’s mother’s family.
The book theorizes that Sarkozy’s mother’s family came to Salonika from the French region of Provence. Sarkozy’s great-grandfather, Mordechai Mallah, a well-known Salonika jeweler, and his wife, Reina, had seven children. One was named Aaron, Sarkozy’s grandfather.
At the age of 14, Aaron Mallah and his mother left for France, where Aaron studied medicine and served as a doctor during World War I.
It was in Paris that Aaron met the gentile nurse who would become his wife. In order to marry Adel Bouvieux, Aaron was baptized and converted to Catholicism, taking the name Benedict, or Benico. A daughter, Andree Mallah, married a Hungarian refugee named Paul Sarkozy. The couple had three sons, including Nicolas.
Paul Sarkozy left the family when Nicolas was 5 years old, and Benico took care of them. Nicolas, according to the book, was very attached to his grandfather, who used to tell his grandchildren stories from Salonika.
Until Benico’s death in 1972, Nicolas Sarkozy and his brothers did not know they had Jewish roots. The Sarkozy brothers would learn the truth about their Jewish roots from their mother.
The authors said Benico did not tell his grandchildren about their Jewish roots to protect them, fearing anti-Semitism and another Holocaust, which killed most members of the Mallah clan.
In 1973, with his family facing financial difficulties, the 20-year-old Nicolas Sarkozy traveled to Salonika to sell his family’s leftover property.
During a visit to Greece in July 2006, the Jewish community of Salonika honored Sarkozy at a ceremony at the French Embassy in Athens.
The community gave Sarkozy, then France’s interior minister, an album of his family tree going back to his great-great-grandfather, along with pictures of his ancestors. Sarkozy recognized some of the faces in the pictures from his own family albums.
At the event he met Lucy Saltiel, the wife of the president of the Jewish community of Salonika and a member of the Mallah family. Visibly moved, Sarkozy told the Jewish community members, “My roots are here.”
The above article can be found here: http://www.chicagojewishnews.org/story.htm?sid=212224&id=251495
Sarkozy: ‘My roots are in Salonika’
European Jewish Press; April 24, 2007
PARIS-ATHENS–The tough-talking Nicolas Sarkozy, who came out first from the first round of the French presidential election on Sunday ahead of his Socialist rival Ségolène Royal, casts himself as a modernizer and the man who wants to lead France into a “clean break” with a discredited past.
French voters chose to put Sarkozy and Royal in the runoff for the second round of the election on May 6.
They won respectively 31.1 percent and 25.8 percent of the vote.
The 52-year-old son of a Hungarian immigrant and a French mother of Greek Jewish origin, Sarkozy has served as Interior Minister twice, as Finance Minister and, since 2004, president of the ruling Union for a Popular Movement (UMP).
Born in January 1955, Sarkozy had a privileged upbringing in the affluent Paris suburb of Neuilly where he served as mayor from 1983 to 2002. He studied law and — unlike most of France’s ruling class — avoided the elite National Administration School (ENA).
Twice married, Sarkozy has three children — the third by his current wife Cecilia with whom his stormy relationship has received widespread coverage in the gossip magazines.
The Mallah family in Salonika
Sarkozy’s mother is from the Mallah family, which originally came from Spain like all Jews of Salonika, northern Greece, and left with the expulsion of the Jews by King Ferdinand. They settled initially in France.
About 100 years later the family immigrated to Salonika.
Sarkozy’s great grandfather, who died in 1913, was a well known jeweler in Salonika. His business was destroyed when a fire in 1917 destroyed almost the entire city of Salonika.
The grave of Mordohai Mallah exists till today at Stavroupoli where it was transferred from the old cemetery just before the Germans walked in during WWII and destroyed the Jewish cemetery.
Nicolas’s grandfather, Benedict, was the first child of seven children. His real name was Aaron but the family called him Benico. At the age of 14, Benico and his mother left for France where he studied medicine and served in the French army as a doctor during WWI, where he met his future wife Adel Bouvieux, a pretty nurse.
In order to marry her he was baptized Catholic and took the name Benedict.
The couple had two daughters, Suzanne and Andrée, the mother of Nicolas, who married in the 50s a Hungarian immigrant Paul Sarkozy, the father of Nicolas.
In July 2006, while on a visit to Greece, Nicolas Sarkozy was honored at the French embassy in Athens by the Jewish Community of Salonika.
A plaque was unveiled which said: “In memory of Nicolas Sarkozy’s visit to Greece from the Thessaloniki Jewish Community, the town of your ancestors, mother and city of Israel and Jerusalem of the Balkans.”
Along with the plaque the community gave the French minister an album of his genealogical tree going back to his great-great-grandfather along with pictures of his ancestors. Sarkozy recognized some of the people in the pictures from his family albums.
At the event the wife of the president of the Jewish community of Salonika David Saltiel, Lucy, who was born from the same Mallah family, was also present. A visibly moved Sarkozy thanked the community and said: “My roots are here.”
Most of the members of the Mallah family [are said to have] perished in the [alleged] Holocaust. Today the remaining members are living mainly in Switzerland, France and England.
The above article can be found at: http://www.ejpress.org/article/16221
‘Sarkozy’s Jewish roots’
Australian Jewish News; May 8, 2007
In an interview Nicolas Sarkozy gave in 2004, he expressed an extraordinary understanding of the plight of the Jewish people for a home: “Should I remind you the visceral attachment of every Jew to Israel, as a second mother homeland? There is nothing outrageous about it. Every Jew carries within him a fear passed down through generations, and he knows that if one day he will not feel safe in his country, there will always be a place that would welcome him. And this is Israel.
Sarkozy’s sympathy and understanding is most probably a product of his upbringing; it is well known that Sarkozy’s mother was born to the Mallah family, one of the oldest Jewish families of Salonika, Greece.
Additionally, many may be surprised to learn that his yet-to-be-revealed family history involves a true and fascinating story of leadership, heroism and survival.
It remains to be seen whether his personal history will affect his foreign policy and France’s role in the Middle East conflict.
In the 15th century, the Mallah family (in Hebrew: messenger or angel) escaped the Spanish Inquisition to Provence, France and moved about one hundred years later to Salonika.
In Greece, several family members became prominent Zionist leaders, active in the local and national political, economic, social and cultural life.
To this day many Mallahs are still active Zionists around the world.
Sarkozy’s grandfather, Aron Mallah, nicknamed Beniko, was born in 1890.
Beniko’s uncle Moshe was a well-known Rabbi and a devoted Zionist who, in 1898 published and edited “El Avenir”, the leading paper of the Zionist national movement in Greece at the time.
His cousin, Asher, was a Senator in the Greek Senate and in 1912 he helped guarantee the establishment of the Technion — the elite technological university in Haifa, Israel.
In 1919 he was elected as the first President of the Zionist Federation of Greece and he headed the Zionist Council for several years. In the 1930’s he helped Jews flee to Israel, to which he himself immigrated in 1934.
Another of Beniko’s cousins, Peppo Mallah, was a philanthropist for Jewish causes who served in the Greek Parliament, and in 1920 he was offered, but declined, the position of Greece’s Minister of Finance. After the establishment of the State of Israel he became the country’s first diplomatic envoy to Greece.
The rest of the above article can be found here: http://www.ajn.com.au/news/news.asp?pgID=3162
‘C’est l’economie, stupide: The continental divide’ The Jewish Daily Forward; April 27, 2007
When Nicolas Sarkozy, the conservative frontrunner in the French presidential elections, goes into the runoff with his socialist rival Ségolène Royal on May 6, he can count on strong support from the largest Jewish community in Western Europe. Many of France’s 600,000 Jews like Sarkozy’s outspoken (and somewhat un-French) support for Israel, but some are turned off by his willingness to echo the anti-immigration and sometimes racist rhetoric of veteran far-righter Jean-Marie Le Pen.
Both views of Sarkozy, however, are overrated, and should not decide the Jewish vote. In all likelihood, as president he would not fundamentally change France’s Middle East policy and its traditional affinity for Arab states and the Palestinian cause. Neither would he go beyond the tough approach of current President Jacques Chirac toward the unruly migrant youth in the banlieues, the run-down suburbs around Paris and other major cities. After all, until recently Sarkozy was Chirac’s interior minister.
When riots broke out in the banlieues two years ago, he set a defiant tone by threatening to clean up the ghettos with a “Kärcher,” a well-known German brand of industrial-strength pressure-washers used to remove dirt and feces from sidewalks. Some Muslim leaders have still not forgiven Sarkozy for these words, and they have threatened an explosion of anger in the banlieues if Sarkozy is elected.
There have been rumors of a secret alliance between Sarkozy and Le Pen, who once referred to the Holocaust as a detail of history and has made other anti-Jewish statements. Most Le Pen supporters, however, would never even consider voting for a Socialist like Royal, so it is hard to see how such an alliance would help Sarkozy.
During the campaign, Sarkozy wooed Le Pen voters by calling for the creation of a “Ministry of Immigration and National Identity” and by telling disgruntled immigrants to leave France. Le Pen struck back by describing Sarkozy, who has a Hungarian father and a mother of Greek Jewish descent, as a “candidate who comes from an immigration background.” “I,” Le Pen asserted, “am a candidate from this land.”
But it is not just having a Jewish grandmother that makes Sarkozy attractive to French Jews — among them some of the country’s leading intellectuals, including once-steadfast leftists Andre Glucksmann and Alain Finkelkraut. They like his pro-American attitudes, his sympathy for the American-led war on terrorism and his pledge to fight homegrown Muslim anti-Semitism. And Bernard-Henri Levy, perhaps France’s most celebrated public intellectual, contemplated backing Sarkozy for a while. Only in the last stage of the campaign did he finally endorse Royal, warning that Sarkozy would polarize French society.
Consistent violence against Jewish properties and against individual Jews, which reached its peak last year with the gruesome murder of 22-year-old Ilan Halimi, pushed many in the Jewish community to the right. Some even supported Le Pen’s National Front because of its anti-Arab stance.
Support for Sarkozy is most pronounced among Sephardic Jews who immigrated from North Africa and today represent the majority of French Jewry. Ashkenazim traditionally vote for the left, but even among them Sarkozy has gained a distinct following.
Royal, meanwhile, has zigzagged between strict law-and-order positions and traditional leftist sympathy for the disenfranchised, who in today’s France are mostly the children of North African immigrants. Even though she made some verbal gaffes during a trip to the Middle East, Royal is certainly not anti-Israel, just closer to the traditional French political mold.
But it is with regard to the economy that Sarkozy most differentiates himself from Royal. France has one of the highest unemployment rates in Western Europe, and almost a quarter of its young people are without a job. In the banlieues, the rate is much higher.
The country has lost its competitive edge, economic growth rates have fallen behind those of Germany, and high non-wage labor costs and extremely rigid work hours continue to stifle the creation of new jobs. Most economists agree that France needs a dose of deregulation to get its economy back on track.
Even though Sarkozy avoided any radical measures when he was finance minister for six months in 2004, he seems much more likely to reform the economy than Royal, who has pledged a huge increase in social spending without any proposals to finance her generous campaign promises. Still, there are more than a few who believe that only the French model of state intervention and high social spending can hold society together and preserve what is still one of the world’s highest standards of living.
A sustained economic upswing would be the best way to reduce ethnic tensions and help to integrate young Muslims into French society, while continued stagnation might turn the banlieues into battle zones and cause societal tensions that would inevitably affect the country’s Jews. Whether Sarkozy can really fix the economy remains to be seen, but it is clearly his strongest card for the presidential runoff.
The above article can be found here: http://www.forward.com/articles/10591/
‘Will Sarkozy’s Jewish roots impact France’s policies?’Jewish Journal; May 10, 2007
In an interview French President-elect Nicolas Sarkozy gave in 2004, he expressed an extraordinary understanding of the plight of the Jewish people for a home: “Should I remind you the visceral attachment of every Jew to Israel, as a second mother homeland? There is nothing outrageous about it. Every Jew carries within him a fear passed down through generations, and he knows that if one day he will not feel safe in his country, there will always be a place that would welcome him. And this is Israel.”
Sarkozy’s sympathy and understanding is most probably a product of his upbringing. It is well known that Sarkozy’s mother was born to the Mallah family, one of the oldest Jewish families of Salonika, Greece. Yet it remains to be seen whether his personal history will affect his foreign policy and France’s role in the Middle East conflict.
In the 15th century, the Mallah family (Hebrew for messenger or angel) escaped the Spanish Inquisition to Provence, France, and moved about 100 years later to Salonika. In Greece, several family members became prominent Zionist leaders, active in the local and national political, economic, social and cultural life.
In 1917, a great fire destroyed parts of Salonika and damaged the Mallah family estate. Many Jewish-owned properties, including the Mallah’s, were expropriated by the Greek government. The Jewish population emigrated from Greece and much of the Mallah family left Salonika for France, America and Israel.
Sarkozy’s grandfather, Aron Mallah, nicknamed Benkio, immigrated to France, where he converted to Catholicism and changed his name to Benedict in order to marry a French Christian girl named Adele Bouvier.
Although Benedict integrated fully into French society, he remained close to his Jewish family and culture. Knowing he was still considered Jewish by blood, he hid his family in the village of Marcillac la Croisille in western France during World War II.
During the [alleged] Holocaust, many of the Mallahs who stayed in Salonika or moved to France were deported to concentration and extermination camps. In total, 57 family members were [said to have been] murdered by the Nazis. Testimonies reveal that several [were said to have] revolted against the Nazis.
In 1950, Benedict’s daughter, Andree Mallah, married Pal Nagy Bosca y Sarkozy, a descendant of an aristocratic Hungarian family. The couple had three sons, Guillaume, Nicolas and François. After the couple divorced in 1960, Andrée Sarkozy raised her three boys close to their grandfather, Benedict. Nicolas was especially close to Benedict, who was like a father to him.
Sarkozy says he admired his grandfather, and through hours spent listening to his stories of the Nazi occupation, the Maquis (French Resistance), De Gaulle and D-Day, Benedict bequeathed to Nicolas his political convictions.
Sarkozy’s family lived in Paris until Benedict’s death in 1972, at which point they moved to Neuilly-sur-Seine to be closer to the boys’ father, Pal (who changed his name to Paul) Sarkozy.
Various memoirs depict Paul Sarkozy as a father who did not spend much time with his children or help the family monetarily. Nicolas had to sell flowers and ice cream in order to pay for his studies. However, his fascination with politics led him to become the city’s youngest mayor and to rise to the top of French and world politics. The rest is history.
It may be a far leap to consider that Sarkozy’s Jewish ancestry may have any bearing on his policies vis-à-vis Israel. However, many expect Sarkozy’s presidency to bring a dramatic change not only in France’s domestic affairs but also in the country’s foreign policy in the Middle East.
Nevertheless, there are several reasons that any expectations for a drastic change in the country’s Middle East policy, or foreign policy in general, should be downplayed.
First, France’s new president will spend the lion’s share of his time dealing with domestic issues, such as the country’s stagnating economy, its social cohesiveness and the rising integration-related crime rate.
When he finds time to deal with foreign affairs, Sarkozy will have to devote most of his energy to protecting France’s standing in an ever-involved European Union. In his dealings with the United States, Sarkozy will most likely prefer to engage on less-explosive agenda items than the Middle East.
Second, France’s foreign policy stems from the nation’s interests rooted in reality and influenced by a range of historic, political, strategic and economic considerations. Since Sarkozy’s landing at the Elysée on May 16 will not change those, France’s foreign policy ship will not tilt so quickly under a new captain.
Third, France’s Foreign Affairs Ministry exerts significant weight over the country’s policies and agenda. There, non-elected bureaucrats tend to retain an image of Israel as a destabilizing element in the Middle East, rather then the first line of defense of democracy. Few civil servants would consider risking France’s interests or increasing chances for “a clash of civilizations” in order to help troubled Israel or Palestine reach peace.
It is fair to predict that France will stay consistent with its support in establishing a viable Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, existing side by side with a peaceful Israel. How to get there, if at all, will not be set by Sarkozy’s flagship, but rather he will follow the leadership of the United States and the European Union.
Although Sarkozy’s family roots will not bring France closer to Israel, the president’s personal Israeli friends may. As interior minister, Sarkozy shared much common policy ground with former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The two started to develop a close friendship not long ago, and it is easy to observe similarities not only in their ideology and politics but also in their public image. If Netanyahu returns to Israel’s chief position, it will be interesting to see whether their personal dynamic will lead to a fresh start for Israel and France and a more constructive European role in the region.
The above article can be found here: http://www.jewishjournal.com/world/article/will_sarkozys_jewish_roots_impact_frances_policies_20070511/
‘Sarkozy’s son and Jewish heiress tie the knot’Haaretz (Israel); September 11, 2008
French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s 22-year-old son Jean, who has launched his own political career, married a member of the Jewish family that founded one of France’s biggest retailers on Wednesday.
Jean Sarkozy has become a household name in France since he played an important role in supporting and then abandoning the main center-right party’s candidate to succeed his father as mayor of the wealthy Paris suburb of Neuilly-sur-Seine.
A law student, the president’s second son has since been elected to the post of local councilor in his father’s former fiefdom and taken over the influential post of leader of the centre-right UMP party group in his regional council.
Jean Sarkozy told reporters he married Jessica Sebaoun-Darty, whose family set up one of France’s biggest electronics retailers, Darty, at the town hall of Neuilly on Wednesday evening.
Jean Sarkozy shot to fame last year, when he had a hand in the demise of his father’s then spokesman, David Martinon.
Martinon, who was seen as close to Nicolas Sarkozy’s then wife, Cecilia, was originally anointed as the UMP candidate for mayor of Neuilly. But many residents were unhappy with a man who had never lived in their town being parachuted in to run it, and his local backers, including Jean Sarkozy, soon ditched him.
Martinon pulled out of the election, dealing a blow to his political ambitions. He has since returned to his previous career as a diplomat and is now France’s consul in Los Angeles.
The younger Sarkozy’s turnaround prompted some observers to say he shared his father’s political cunning, and he has since become a pin-up of the centre right.
Sarkozy, born to the president’s first wife, became engaged to Sebaoun-Darty in June. He has denied speculation he is planning to convert to Judaism.
The conditions in which the wedding was held — on a weekday afternoon and with several guests arriving through a back door to avoid the waiting press — was reminiscent of Nicolas Sarkozy’s marriage to singer and former model Carla Bruni-Sarkozy seven months ago.
That wedding, celebrated in a low-key, civil ceremony at the presidential Elysee palace, was Sarkozy’s third and took place just four months after he separated from Cecilia, his wife of 11 years.
Source: http://www.haaretz.com/news/sarkozy-s-son-and-jewish-heiress-tie-the-knot-1.253572, October 26 2010