French Jews Told To Hide Their Faith 'Until Better Days'

by
Jessica Renae Buxbaum
Amid the increase of anti-Semitic attacks, Marseille’s top Jewish leader has called on Jewish men and boys to stop wearing the skullcap “until better days” return.

man wearing kippah

A knife attack on kippah-wearing teacher has sparked a proposal for Jews to conceal their identity in France.

Amid the increase of anti-Semitic attacks, Marseille’s top Jewish leader, Zvi Ammar, has called on Jewish men and boys to stop wearing the skullcap “until better days” return.

"Unfortunately for us, we are targeted. As soon as we are identified as Jewish we can be assaulted and even risk death,” Ammar said on Tuesday.

On Monday, the victim was stabbed by a Turkish teenager of Kurdish origin who claimed allegiance to Daesh.

The call was met with resounding criticism from the French government and Jewish leaders alike.

National Jewish leaders rejected the call, saying it showed a "defeatist attitude.”

Chief Rabbi Haim Korsia likened the call as giving into extremists.

"We should not give an inch, we should continue wearing the kippah," Rabbi Korsia said. 

Robert Ejnes, executive director of CRIF, the Umbrella Body for Jewish Organizations, echoed this sentiment.

 “The chief rabbi of France and CRIF’s president, Roger Cukierman, said that wearing of a kippah is a personal choice, that no leader should tell the Jews whether to wear a kippah or not, and that issuing such an order would give a victory to ISIS terrorists,” Ejnes told The Jerusalem Post.

Joel Mergui, president of France's Israelite Central Consistory, also denounced the call, saying, "If we have to give up wearing any distinctive sign of our identity, it clearly would raise the question of our future in France."

President Francios Hollande also weighed in on the debate, deeming the move “intolerable.”

"It is intolerable that in our country citizens should feel so upset and under assault because of their religious choice that they would conclude that they have to hide,” Hollande said.

Anti-Semitic acts have increased in France, skyrocketing to 84 percent between January and May of 2015, according to official statistics.

Yet despite the surge in anti-Semitism, hiding one’s religion only serves to satisfy the bigot’s agenda and depletes religious tolerance. 

Read more: Running Out Of Groups To Offend, Trump Goes After Jews In New Speech

Banner image credit: Wikimedia Commons user David Berkowitz 

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