Francis Kalifat was born in 1952 in Oran, French Algeria. He moved to Paris in 1962, at the end of the Algerian War. He grew up in Trappes, and Versailles. He was educated at the Lycée Hoche and graduated from University of Paris-Sud.
Kalifat started his own business, a shoe company which he still runs at the age of 22.
As a teenager he volunteered for Betar
Kalifat joined the CRIF in 1984. He was elected as its treasurer in 2002, and as its vice president in 2013. Kalifat was elected as the president of the CRIF in May 2016. During his tenure, he wants to ban Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions in France.