Macron
© AFP / Ludovic Marin
French President Emmanuel Macron asks the Israeli police to leave the 12th-century Church of Saint Anne in the old city of Jerusalem on January 22, 2020.
French President Emmanuel Macron gave Israeli police officers a tongue-lashing in Jerusalem, after the cops entered the French Church of St. Anne in the city's old quarter.

Footage shared on social media captured the altercation, which took place during Macron's visit to the Crusader-era church on Wednesday. Though situated in the Old City of Jerusalem, the church belongs to the French government, and Israeli officers had apparently tried to enter the premises ahead of Macron.

"Everybody knows the rules!" Macron shouted, speaking English. "I don't like what you did in front of me. Go out!"

"Please respect the rules as they were for centuries," he continued. "They will not change with me."


Macron is not the first French leader driven to anger by Israeli security. During a 1996 visit to the Old City, Jacques Chirac snapped at the armed Israeli police surrounding him and preventing Palestinians from approaching him. "I'm starting to have had enough of this," he shouted in French. "What, do you want me to go back to my plane and go back to France? Is that what you want?"

At the time, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the increased security was necessary following the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin a year earlier. Critics in the media disagreed, saying it was intended to demonstrate to Chirac that Israel was firmly in control of the city's historic quarter, where the vast majority of the population are Palestinian.

The Church of St. Anne was built in the early 12th Century, on a site believed by crusaders to be the childhood home of the Virgin Mary. It fell into disrepair during the Ottoman rule of Palestine, and was eventually given back to Napoleon III by Sultan Abdulmecid I as a token of gratitude for French support during the Crimean War.

Macron's visit to the church came during his first official visit to Israel, for discussions with Netanyahu and to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp.