Dates: March 25-30, 2012
A delegation of French parliamentary leaders from former President Sarkozy’s center-right UMP party visited Israel for intensive dialogue and briefings at the end of March. Occurring just days after the horrific terror attacks on a Jewish school in Toulouse, participants also offered their condolences to the victims’ families.
Participants included five members of the National Assembly (the lower house of Parliament) and a former advisor running for office in the National Assembly in the June 2012 legislative elections.
Project Interchange worked in partnership with Simone Rodan Benzaquen, AJC’s Director in France, and MedBridge Strategy Center, an influential French NGO to make this program possible.
The group met with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, the Speaker of the Knesset, Supreme Court judges, professors, Members of Knesset, businessmen, noted journalists and many others. Meetings with Palestinian and Arab-Israeli leaders included Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and Khalil Shikaki of the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research.
The seminar received media attention in France and Israel. You can read media coverage of the seminar in The Times of Israel, The Jerusalem Post, JSS News and the JTA. Participant Claude Goasguen wrote about the experience in his blog in which he also his idea of establishing a Franco-Israeli Office which would run youth exchange programs.