Senators, Members of Parliament and French Mayors visited Israel on an official ELNET delegation. All delegates received briefings from the highest echelons of the Israeli government, met with leading members of financial and start up community, and toured Israel’s historic sites.
The delegation visited Israel in June 2014 just days after the kidnapping of three young Israelis, and included 31 members of all the major French parties; the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP), Socialist Party, and Union of Democrats and Independents (UDI). This monumental delegation celebrated 65 years of bilateral relations. Members of the delegation included prominent French politicians Sen. Christian Poncelet, former President of the Senate; MP Claude Goasguen, deputy of Paris and former Minister; MP Yves Jego, former Secretary of State for Overseas Affairs and MP Meyer Habib, representative of French citizens living abroad including Israel; and key members of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and the France-Israel Friendship group.
For many this delegation was their first experience of Israel, but first time or not, all left with greater knowledge of Israel and deeper understanding of the challenges Israel faces in this region. The tailor made visit included political, cultural and economic aspects of Israel. Highlights of the visit were meetings with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other leading Israeli politicians and officials including Reuven Rivlin, President Elect of the State of Israel and Former Speaker of the Knesset; MK Yuli Edelstein, Speaker of the Knesset; MK Isaac Herzog, Leader of the Opposition and Chairman of the Labor Party; Minister MK Gideon Sa’ar, Minister of the Interior; a special panel was organized including MK Ze’ev Elkin, Deputy Foreign Minister and Chair of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, MK Ofer Shelach and MK Ronen Hoffman, also members of the committee. Topics included the Iranian nuclear program, peace negotiations, misperceptions between Israel and Europe, and the rise of extremism in Europe.