Following Islamic attacks against Jews and fearing further such incidents, a French Jewish leader is calling on his community to hide their Jewish identity in public. Others disagreed, calling it “defeatist.”
A leading Jewish authority in Marseille, in southern France, asked fellow Jews on Tuesday to refrain from wearing their Kippa (traditional head covering) to stay safe after a machete-wielding teen attacked a Jewish teacher on Monday.
Zvi Ammar, head of the Israelite Consistory of Marseille, said he is asking Jews to go without the kippa “until better days.”
His call came a day after a 15-year-old Turkish Kurd attacked and wounded a Jewish teacher on a street in Marseille — France’s second-largest city — and told police after his arrest that he acted in the name of the Islamic State (ISIS) terror group.
Ammar said his decision to ask Jews not to wear the kippa was the hardest of his life. But he said he prefers “being criticized for making this decision than regretting one day if by misfortune something very grave occurs.” Ammar spoke on TV stations BFM, iTele and Israel’s IDF Radio.
Some Jewish leaders disagreed with Ammar’s advice, with one calling it “defeatist” and the Grand Rabbi of France, Haim Korsia, tweeting that “we must not cede to emotion,” remarks he made in an interview on TV5.
Speaking on IDF Radio on Wednesday, Jewish French Parliament member Meir Habib said that the French government was responsible for its Jews security. “If the Jews are not able to be Jews in France there is a crucial problem – not only for Jews but for all of France. This is the end. It brings us back to very dark times. In a few years, Christians will be forced to hide their crosses,” he warned.
Marseille is home to about 80,000 Jews, the third-largest urban population of Jews in Europe after Paris and London.
After the attack, an investigation was opened by the anti-terrorism section of the prosecutor’s office in the French capital, where the teen will be questioned.
The knife attack came four days after a terrorist armed with a butcher’s knife was fatally shot after authorities said he went after police at a station in central Paris. German authorities say the man had lived at a shelter for asylum-seekers in the western city of Recklinghausen.
France is still reeling from a series of Islamic terror attacks in Paris on November 13 that killed 132 people and just marked the anniversary of attacks on the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo and a kosher grocery store, which killed 17 people.
The Jewish community in France has been the target of some of these attacks.
The wave of Islamic terror in France and the mounting menace of anti-Semitism has driven French Aliyah (immigration) to Israel to a record high.
By: AP and United with Israel Staff