The Jewish Deputy Mayor of Toulouse, Aviv Zonabend, may face the sack for saying in an interview that there are “too many Arabs” in the French city and “too few Jews”.
Zonabend made the racist remarks during an interview with an Israeli army radio station last week. The only Jewish member of the Toulouse city council, which is twinned with Tel Aviv, pointed to the rise in anti-Sematic attacks in France and said that there are “very many, too many” Arabs in the city, making up 11-12 per cent of its population, and “very few” Jews, the Times of Israel reported.
Zonabend also complained that the Muslims in the municipality were having “difficulty” accepting his outspoken Zionism. He said that when he travels to Tel Aviv, a “sister city” of Toulouse, “it disturbs them. They say ‘why don’t you also go to Ramallah or Palestine to do the same?’”.
His comments have drawn attention of the city’s mayor, Jean-Luc Moudenc, who is reportedly taking action against his deputy, and may even fire him if a translator confirms he made the remark.
Moudenc issued a statement last week condemning the remarks with “utmost firmness”, saying they contradict the values of tolerance he tries to promote and adding that it is “intolerable that the dialogue we are cultivating with and between religious communities is trampled.”
“That’s why I have asked for a professional translator to check if what was published matches what was said,” he added, implying that he would fire Zonabend if the translator confirmed the remarks.
Zonabend tried to retract his comments saying that he meant to say “Islamists” who he believes are responsible for the rise of anti-Semitism in France. He explained that he had clumsily said “Arabs” adding that he has “nothing against Arabs”.