(Photo: GPO) (Photo: GPO)

Israeli media reports claim that France asked Netanyahu not to attend the Paris rally against Islamic terror. 

PM Netanyhau, President Hollande and FM Liberman attend a memorial for the four slain Jews in a Paris synagogue. (Photo: GPO)

PM Netanyhau, French President Hollande and FM Liberman attend memorial for four slain Jews in a Paris synagogue. (Photo: GPO)

Did France express opposition to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s participation in the mass rally in Paris against Islamic terror on Sunday?

Several Israeli news sources report that French President Francois Hollande’s administration was unhappy when Netanyahu originally announced his intention to join other world leaders at one of the largest demonstrations Paris had ever seen. They were allegedly forced to invite him after the fact, the reports indicate.

Israel’s Channel 2 says that the French explicitly asked the Israeli leader not to come and that he initially complied, publicly citing security reasons for his decision. Paris reportedly wanted to avoid any mention of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at the rally that would divert attention from the rally’s main message.

But when Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said that he was going to the rally, the report continues, Netanyahu changed his mind and decided to go as well, not wanting to leave the limelight completely to Liberman, a political opponent, during an election period. Only after Netanyahu’s announcement that he planned to attend did Hollande call to invite him personally.

In revenge, the French leaked to the AFP news agency that Netanyahu would be marching alongside Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas, Channel 2 claims.

When asked by Channel 2 to comment on the report, the French embassy in Israel refused, stating that “it would not be proper to comment now that Netanyahu is already at the march.”

Times of Israel quotes the Prime Minister’s Office as confirming late Sunday night that France was initially opposed to the idea of Netanyahu attending the historic march, saying that the Israeli leader’s presence at the rally would be “divisive.”

Liberman Denies the Report

Liberman wants John Serry ousted

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman. (Photo: Flash90)

However, Liberman categorically denied any such French opposition to Netanyahu attending the rally.

Speaking to Israel’s IDF Radio on Monday, Liberman said the entire story was a figment of the reporters’ imaginations. “No message was conveyed by Elyse Palace that Netanyahu was not wanted,” he said. ”Maybe the Israeli media has telepathic abilities,” he quipped, stressing that the Israeli government never received any message from France asking Netanyahu to stay home.

By: United with Israel Staff