French telecom company Orange confirms plans to pull out of Israel

June 5, 2015 Agencies
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The French telecommunications giant Orange on Thursday followed up on its CEO’s endorsement of ending the company’s dealings in Israel by confirming that Orange plans to cut ties with Partner Communications Ltd., its affiliate that provides cell phone service in the Jewish state.

At the same time, Orange denied that its decision is politically motivated.

Orange CEO Stephane Richard. Credit: Guillaume Paumier via Wikimedia Commons.

Orange CEO Stephane Richard. Credit: Guillaume Paumier via Wikimedia Commons.

“The Orange Group is a telecoms operator and as such its primary concern is to defend and promote the value of its brand in markets in which it is present. The Group does not engage in any kind of political debate under any circumstance,” the company said in a statement.

Orange added, “This agreement [in Israel], which was signed prior to the acquisition of Orange by France Telecom in 2000, is the only long-term brand license agreement within the Orange Group. In line with its brand development strategy, Orange does not wish to maintain the presence of the brand in countries in which it is not, or is no longer, an operator. In this context, and while strictly adhering to existing agreements, the Group ultimately wishes to end this brand license agreement.”

Orange CEO Stephane Richard had said at a news conference in Egypt on Wednesday that he would have the company pull out of Israel as soon as “tomorrow,” but wasn’t yet prepared to make that move. French advocacy groups had been pressuring Orange to end ties with its Israeli affiliate.

“I am ready to abandon this (business in Israel) tomorrow morning, but the point is that I want to secure the legal risk for the company,” Richard said Wednesday. “I want to terminate this, once again, but I don’t want to expose Orange to a level of risk and of penalties that could be really sizable for the company.”

In Egypt, a campaign to boycott Orange claims that the company sponsors Israel Defense Forces units.

“I know that it is a sensitive issue here in Egypt, but not only in Egypt,” said Richard, who added, “We want to be one of the trustful partners of all Arab countries.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on the French government, which has a 25-percent stake in Orange, “to publicly renounce the unfortunate remarks and actions” of the company.

“At the same time, I call on our closest friends to say out loud that they oppose every kind of boycott against the Jewish state,” Netanyahu said.

Israeli Economy and Trade Minister Aryeh Deri said, “Boycotts will not succeed in imposing anything on Israel—the only way is communication and negotiations.” Former finance minister Yair Lapid, the leader of Israel’s Yesh Atid party, called Richard’s comments “hypocrisy of the highest order.”

“I don’t remember [Richard] having a problem making money here and profiting from Israeli citizens,” Lapid said. “The State of Israel is an island of sanity in this difficult neighborhood, and we certainly won’t accept lessons in morality from someone so self-righteous and detached.”


6 Responses to “French telecom company Orange confirms plans to pull out of Israel”
  1. Gil Solomon says:

    It is high time to criticize the mindset of Israel’s leaders. We all know the French are a duplicitous lot. We know that their country is being over-run by Muslim immigration.

    However, when it comes to Israel, no one has anything to say about Aryeh Deri when he mumbles the same old tired mantra: “Boycotts will not succeed in imposing anything on Israel—the only way is communication and NEGOTIATIONS.”

    When are Jews the world over, including in Israel, ever going to wake up to the fact that further “negotiations” with barbarians are useless. There is no longer anything to negotiate about. The only so called peace the Palestinian Authority, Fatah and Hamas are interested in for Israel is the peace of the grave.

    It is time for Israel to act like a sovereign nation in control of its own destiny and walk away from any so called “negotiations”, to dictate terms on every issue in contention and to respond with merciless ferocity on every act of aggression, including the death penalty for captured terrorists (after they are induced to giving up every ounce of intelligence they may have).

    It is high time to stop babbling on naively and wake up to reality.
    Any further negotiations will be still born.
    The “peace process” is dead.
    The “two state solution” is dead.

    It is time to walk away.
    It is time to stop allowing the material for further acts of terrorism, like thousands of tons of cement into Gaza, which we all know will be used for tunnel construction.
    As for medical attention for Gazans, let them seek help from Egyptian physicians. These people, on the whole, have made their bed, so they and their offspring can lie in it. The next Gazan child Israel saves could end up a terrorist who later kills a Jewish child, so for all you out there, before criticizing me, think of this.
    The list is endless.

    In short, Israel needs to walk away.

    • Eleonora Mostert says:

      I’ve been saying this for years to no avail. Hopefully all Israel will pull together and stand as one. The rest of the world has ostrich syndrome and will only find out when it’s too late what they have left themselves open too.

      • Gil Solomon says:


        If there was a prize for any country that exhibited the best “ostrich syndrome” it would have to go to Israel.

        A nation that is forever reactive and hardly ever proactive.
        A nation that keep on repeating the same mistakes time and time again.
        A nation that produces one spineless coalition Government after the other, where everyone is free to go on overseas junkets and open his mouth on anything and everything.
        Only recently, after a missile attack on Ashkelon, Israel re-opened the Gaza border where of course thousands of tons of cement enter by the truckload. Does some fool in the Israeli Government think that this is material will not be going into tunnel construction?

        I’ll stop here or I could go on forever and this is just supposed to be a comment to an article, not an article in itself.

        Suffice to say, that in my not so humble opinion, Israel is in need of a dictatorship of sorts to get its house in order.

  2. Rita L. says:

    France is infested terminally and has become the first prostitute for Islam. What chance when this extreme left and extremely corrupt Government puts his children into the hands of an Education Minister who is not only Arabo/Musulman, and has the double nationality, French/Morrocan, but who wears the islamic veil when she visits “home”, Morocco, where this islamic garb is not obligatory. As to the Justice Minister, Taubira, dont get me started. Just look up: Christiane Taubira.

  3. Sheldon Pozniak says:

    What an arrogant a/hole!! Stephane Richard is!!!

    Pulling out of Israel is populist as they are bowing to Anti Israel & Anti Sememtic views in France, a country which is
    being overrun with Muslims..Isreal doesn’t need to deal with companies or individuals like this anyway…

    Orange will be the loser…not Israel..this opportunity will give another Telco business Orange had…good riddance I say!!!

  4. Rabbi Pinchos Woolstone says:

    Another foul move by the French.
    Another partner will be found,by the Israeli company, hopefully offering even better products and services at more competative rates.
    A blessing in disguise.

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