Israel Concerned About Rise of Nationalist Agenda After European Elections

The number of seats gained by each party appears on the screen of the hemicycle of the European Parliament, in Brussels, during the announcement of the European elections results on May 25, 2014. (photo credit: AFP /JOHN THYS)
The number of seats gained by each party appears on the screen of the hemicycle of the European Parliament, in Brussels, during the announcement of the European elections results on May 25, 2014. (photo credit: AFP /JOHN THYS)

Jerusalem is worried about the results of this week’s European Parliament elections, in which far right and even neo-Nazi parties drastically gained strength, a senior Israeli official said late Monday.

“Of course it’s our business. We’re talking about rise of neo-fascist and neo-Nazi groups who managed to get elected and gained institutional respectability and will be able to exert influence over policy making,” said the diplomatic official, who is intimately familiar with European affairs.

The comments to The Times of Israel were Israel’s first detailed response to the elections since results were announced Monday morning.

“Obviously it’s a matter of concern for us, because it’s going to influence the European Union’s relations to Israel and also because it affects Jews living in Europe,” the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said.

While anticipated by analysts, the rightward shift – which included a decisive win for the National Front in France and will send one member of the German neo-Nazi party to Brussels — shocked Europe, with some observers speaking of an “earthquake” that will change the face of the continent. Many Jewish leaders expressed shock and outrage as well, drawing a link between the election results and the shooting in the Jewish museum in Brussels, which killed four people, including two Israeli tourists.

“We have every reason to be concerned, but not half as many reasons as the Europeans themselves have,” the Israeli official said, refusing, however, to say what Jerusalem wishes the EU to do about the worrying election result. “It’s up the Europeans to take responsibility and to find answers to the problematic situation that has been brought about by these elections. Just as I don’t want them to tell what us to do, we will not tell them what to do. But the situation in Europe is becoming intolerable.”

While it would be an exaggeration to speak of the rise of a Fourth Reich in Europe – Israel’s Channel 2 news on Monday night accompanied its report on the elections with a graphic that showed a swastika superimposed on the European flag — the results, especially in Hungary and Greece, were worrisome, the official said.

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SOURCE: RAPHAEL AHREN 
The Times of Israel

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