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08 June 2015

Sarkozy in Israel: 'boycott makes no sense'


Sarkozy said that humanity owes a debt to the Jewish people for their persecution over the centuries, which culminated in the Holocaust. “The silence of the nations while the crimes were committed is a blemish on the conscience of humanity, he said. “We all failed and have a debt toward the Jewish people, and it continues to exist.” He said that the “only way to do something about it” is to always ensure the security of the Jewish people.



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But why exactly is it that a 'boycott makes no sense'?

Sarkozy doesn't say.

SARKOZY'S JEWISH ROOTS

France's new president, Nicolas Sarkozy, lost 57 members of his family to the Nazis and comes from a long line of Jewish and Zionist leaders and heroes, writes RAANAN ELIAZ (AUSTRALIAN JEWISH NEWS)

In an interview Nicolas Sarkozy gave in 2004, he expressed an extraordinary understanding of the plight of the Jewish people for a home: “Should I remind you the visceral attachment of every Jew to Israel, as a second mother homeland? There is nothing outrageous about it. Every Jew carries within him a fear passed down through generations, and he knows that if one day he will not feel safe in his country, there will always be a place that would welcome him. And this is Israel.” 

Sarkozy’s sympathy and understanding is most probably a product of his upbringing it is well known that Sarkozy’s mother was born to the Mallah family, one of the oldest Jewish families of Salonika, Greece. 

Additionally, many may be surprised to learn that his yet-to-be-revealed family history involves a true and fascinating story of leadership, heroism and survival. 

It remains to be seen whether his personal history will affect his foreign policy and France’s role in the Middle East conflict.

In the 15th century, the Mallah family (in Hebrew: messenger or angel) escaped the Spanish Inquisition to Provence, France and moved about one hundred years later to Salonika. 

In Greece, several family members became prominent Zionist leaders, active in the local and national political, economic, social and cultural life. 

To this day many Mallahs are still active Zionists around the world.

Sarkozy’s grandfather, Aron Mallah, nicknamed Benkio, was born in 1890. 

Beniko’s uncle Moshe was a well-known Rabbi and a devoted Zionist who, in 1898 published and edited “El Avenir”, the leading paper of the Zionist national movement in Greece at the time. 

His cousin, Asher, was a Senator in the Greek Senate and in 1912 he helped guarantee the establishment of the Technion – the elite technological university in Haifa, Israel. 

In 1919 he was elected as the first President of the Zionist Federation of Greece and he headed the Zionist Council for several years. In the 1930’s he helped Jews flee to Israel, to which he himself immigrated in 1934. 

Another of Beniko’s cousins, Peppo Mallah, was a philanthropist for Jewish causes who served in the Greek Parliament, and in 1920 he was offered, but declined, the position of Greece’s Minister of Finance. After the establishment of the State of Israel he became the country’s first diplomatic envoy to Greece.

In 1917 a great fire destroyed parts of Salonika and damaged the family estate. 

Many Jewish-owned properties, including the Mallah’s, were expropriated by the Greek government. Jewish population emigrated from Greece and much of the Mallah family left Salonika to France, America and Israel. 

Sarkozy’s grandfather, Beniko, immigrated to France with his mother. When in France Beniko converted to Catholicism and changed his name to Benedict in order to marry a French Christian girl named Adèle Bouvier.

Adèle and Benedict had two daughters, Susanne and Andrée. Although Benedict integrated fully into French society, he remained close to his Jewish family, origin and culture. 

Knowing he was still considered Jewish by blood, during World War II he and his family hid in Marcillac la Croisille in the Corrèze region, western France.