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Sharon Backtracks on French Anti-Semitism Remarks

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon appears to have backtracked from his claims that France is becoming too dangerous for Jews.

Speaking at Jerusalem’s Ben Gurion airport upon the arrival of 200 Jews from France, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said that anti-Semitism was a problem for the whole of the western world, according to the newspaper Haaretz. "We therefore very much appreciate the determined actions of the French government, as well as the French president's stand against anti-Semitism. We hope that his determination will serve as an example to other countries, as well," he said. Earlier in the month Sharon had antagonized French President Jacques Chirac for recommending that French Jews leave the country because of "wild" anti-Semitism. "If I have to advise our brothers in France, I'll tell them one thing -- move to Israel, as early as possible. I call on all Jews to move to Israel; but it is absolutely necessary for Jews in France and they should move immediately. In France, a wild anti-Semitism is spreading," Sharon said at the time. In France, the comments sparked outrage with one Jewish leader saying the comments merely "poured oil on the fire." (EUobserver.com)

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