A Jewish city councilor in the French city of Toulouse apologized Friday but refused to resign from his post as demanded on Thursday by the city's mayor, after he told an Israeli radio station there were "too many Arabs" in Toulouse.
In a statement sent to the France 3 television network, Aviv Zonabend, who is also a deputy mayor of the city, pleaded "clumsiness" in his choice of words due to a poor mastery of Hebrew, including "in its nuances and subtleties." Zonabend said he had erroneously used the word "Arabs" instead of "Islamists."
Mayor Jean-Luc Moudenc cannot fire the elected Zonabend. Nevertheless, he announced that he was relieving the councilor of his delegated duties in the council.
Moudenc had demanded the resignation of Zonabend after obtaining the "sworn translation of the interview" given to Army Radio and then reported upon by The Times of Israel.