An official with the Prime Minister’s Office told Kol Yisrael radio on Sunday night that France expressed reservations about Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s coming to Paris to participate in a rally in memory of the 17 victims of Islamist terror attacks in the city.
According to the official, France did not specify the reason for the reluctance on their part to having Israel’s prime minister attend the rally.
The comments confirm an earlier report by Channel 2, according to which there was some ugly international wrangling behind the scenes of Netanyahu's changing plans for attending the rally in Paris Sunday.
Netanyahu's bureau originally said Saturday evening that the prime minister would not be attending the anti-terror rally, citing security considerations. A short time later, however, it turned out that he would indeed be going.
According to the report, Netanyahu contacted a “senior French official” and asked to attend the rally, but France said it did not want him there, because his presence would create "difficulty in arranging the rally."
Netanyahu agreed and said he would not fly, but changed his mind when he learned that ministers Naftali Bennett and Avigdor Liberman intend to attend the rally.
He informed the French of the decision, and in response the French said that if Netanyahu attends, they would invite Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas as well.
The French embassy in Israel refused to comment on the report, said Channel 2.
Kol Yisrael pointed out that French President Francois Hollande phoned Netanyahu and personally invited him to Paris upon realizing that Netanyahu intended to attend the rally.
Hollande was present at a ceremony in memory of the victims of the Paris attack at the Grand Synagogue in Paris, the report said, but left before Netanyahu gave his speech.