Israel Slams Le Pen's Remarks Denying French Role in Holocaust

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The detained Jews were packed into the Winter Velodrome cycling stadium, known colloquially as Vel d'Hiv, before being sent to the Auschwitz extermination camp.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry also says France's recognition of its responsibility "underpins the annual events marking the anniversary of the expulsion of the Jews from France and the study of the Holocaust in the education system, both of which are important elements in the battle against anti-Semitism, which unfortunately is once again raising its head".

Former President Jacques Chirac and current leader Francois Hollande have both apologised for the role French police played in the round-up which was ordered by Nazi officers in 1942. "In reality, our children have been taught they had every reason to criticize it, to see only its darkest aspects".

However her comment was rejected by French Polynesia's ruling Tapura Huiraatira party which is endorsing Mr Fillon in the presidential race.

Polls show far-left Melenchon closing in on the frontrunners, 39-year-old centrist Emmanuel Macron and far-right leader Marine Le Pen ahead of the April 23 vote, adding new drama to a rollercoaster campaign.

"If one doubted whether Marine Le Pen is far-right, there is no doubt anymore", Socialist candidate Benoit Hamon told RTL radio.

Le Pen meanwhile and her closest allies hit the airwaves selling their vision of a nationalist France, unburdened by the European Union and the euro currency and tougher on crime and Islamists.

Analysts say forecasting the two-stage election is even more hard than usual, with an unusually high number of voters saying they plan to abstain or have not made up their minds.

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The two top vote-getters in the French presidential vote go to a runoff.

But behind them, Communist-backed firebrand Jean-Luc Melenchon continues to surge after strong performances during the debates when he repeatedly tackled Le Pen over her hardline views on immigration and Islam.

Israel condemned Le Pen's words as "contrary to historical truths".

Le Pen used her speech in Bordeaux to attack "savage globalisation", which she blamed for ruining French industry and the ongoing struggle to reduce youth unemployment, which reached a record high of 25.6 per cent in November 2012.

She added that the Nazi-collaborationist Vichy regime "was not France".

Melenchon addressed supporters in Marseille, portraying himself as the candidate of peace and criticizing President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel for backing US airstrikes in Syria. In this framework, she said French Jews should be banned from wearing kippahs in some public spheres to preserve equality and facilitate further bans on wearing Muslim religious clothing. "I think in a general way, more generally actually, those responsible were those in power then, this is not France".

Le Pen will face off against the other ten candidates in the first round of France's presidential elections on April 23.

The French affiliate of the World Jewish Congress blasted the younger Le Pen's comments.

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