We all breathed a huge sigh of relief when it was confirmed that Emmanuel Macron, the centrist candidate, had defeated Marine Le Pen of the far-right and notoriously anti-Semitic National Front, in the second round run-off of the French Presidential elections on Sunday.
In spite of this triumph, we cannot forget that over 34.5% of the French population voted for Le Pen, equating to more than 10 million votes, almost twice what her father managed in 2002.
In the context of the wider rise of populist and far-right movements across Europe, this represents a big cause for concern for us all, and not least Europe’s Jews. How long before one of these far-right parties actually secures power?
Looking to the future, the French election is yet another sign of the clear discontent felt by a large number of Europeans with the political mainstream. Governments need to take heed of the warning calls and tackle the social and economic problems that are driving this popular anger. Ultimately, we will never be safe unless we defend our democracy and way of life against those seeking to divide us by fostering intolerance, fear and insecurity
Dr Moshe Kantor is the President of the European Jewish Congress and a Vice President of the Jewish Leadership Council.