The Latest: Israeli president denounces Le Pen's comments

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PARIS (AP) -- Israel's president is denouncing French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen's recent comments denying France's role in the Holocaust as "uniquely disturbing."

(Photo Courtesy: CNN VAN)

Speaking Monday on Israel's Holocaust memorial day, President Reuven Rivlin said Israel should avoid "unholy alliances" with parties like hers. He called for a "war" against the "dangerous wave of Holocaust denial" in Europe.

Earlier this month Le Pen denied France was responsible for its role in rounding up French Jews for deportation to Nazi death camps.

Rivlin's remarks came a day after Le Pen advanced to a May 7 runoff in the French presidential election.

He said Israel should "resist unholy alliances with extreme right-wing elements" in Europe because "there was and will be nothing in common with anti-Semites in any shape or form."


8:40 p.m.

French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen has announced that she is temporarily stepping down as head of her National Front party.

Monday's move appears to be a way for Le Pen to embrace a wide range of potential voters ahead of the May 7 runoff between herself and Emmanuel Macron, the independent centrist who came in first in Sunday's first round.

"Tonight, I am no longer the president of the National Front. I am the presidential candidate," she said on French public television news.

Le Pen has said in the past that she is not a candidate of her party, and made that point when she rolled out her platform in February, saying the measures she was espousing were not her party's, but her own.

Le Pen has worked to bring in voters from the left and right for several years, cleaning up her party's racist, anti-Semitic image to do so.

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