Austrian election winner: 'Zero tolerance' for anti-Semitism

Sebastian Kurz says he will demand a clear stance against anti-Semitism from potential coalition partners in government he's set to form.

AFP,

Sebastian Kurz
Sebastian Kurz
Reuters

Austrian election winner Sebastian Kurz says he will demand a clear stance against anti-Semitism from potential coalition partners in the government he is set to form, Israel Hayom reported Tuesday.

"The battle against anti-Semitism and our policy of zero tolerance against all anti-Semitic tendencies is very important to me," Kurz told Israel Hayom.

"It is a clear pre-condition for the formation of any coalition under my leadership."

Kurz added that "there should not be any doubt about this".

He said his People's Party (OeVP) "has tried in the past to fight against anti-Semitism, including among its own members, and I want it to continue to do so".

Asked about the possible transfer of the Austrian embassy from Tel Aviv to

Jerusalem, favored by the leader of FPOe Heinz-Christian Strache, Kurz said "it is not the time to talk about such a sensitive question.”

Netanyahu congratulated Kurz in a telephone call on Monday night while calling for the fight against anti-Semitism to continue.

Israel suspended its relations with Austria in 2000 to protest the presence of the FPOe, then led by controversial figure Joerg Haider, in the coalition government at the time, accusing it of anti-Semitism.

Relations were normalized in 2003 under prime minister Ariel Sharon.

Kurz's party was projected to have won Sunday's election with 31.7 percent of the vote ahead of the Social Democrats (SPOe) of incumbent Chancellor

Christian Kern at 26.9 percent.

Snapping at their heels at 26.0 percent was the anti-immigration Freedom Party (FPOe), its highest since 1999 and double that of its ally Alternative for Germany (AfD) in last month's German polls.

Strache visited Israel in April 2016 and met members of Netanyahu's Likud party. He also visited Jerusalem's Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial during the trip.

Israel's foreign ministry stressed at the time that it was a "strictly private visit" that included no official meetings.

An Israeli official speaking on condition of anonymity said Tuesday it was "premature to take any position while the Austrian coalition is not yet formed.”




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