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January 13, 2016 3:33 pm

Marseilles Jewish Leader Defends Call to Hide Religious Accessories: ‘Human Life Trumps Political Correctness’

avatar by Ruthie Blum

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Marseille Jewish community president Rabbi Zvi Amar. Photo: Walla/Screenshot.

Marseille Jewish community president Rabbi Zvi Amar. Photo: Walla/Screenshot.

“Human life is sacrosanct,” said the president of the Jewish community in Marseilles on Wednesday in a Hebrew interview with the Israeli news site Walla.

Rabbi Zvi Amar was responding to the outcry he caused on Tuesday calling on Jews in his city to refrain from wearing conspicuous signs of their religion, especially in light of a recent stabbing of a Jewish man wearing a kippa outside a Jewish academy in Marseilles.

Asked by Walla whether he knew the extent of the outrage among French Jews that his suggestion had caused, Amar said he is well aware of it, and “respects anyone who has a different opinion, but I think that we ought to stop with this ‘politically correct’ attitude and understand that we are facing a serious security problem.”

Amar continued: “In view of the tense situation in Marseilles, I think it is preferable for those who wear yarmulkes to wear caps … I don’t want any Jew harmed.”

Referring to Monday’s machete attack on a Torah teacher outside a Franco-Hebraic institute, Amar pointed to the fact that “the assailant told his interrogators: ‘I want to die as a martyr with the head of a Jew in my hand.’ When up against lunatics like that, one must be wise, not in the right. We are a strong, dynamic, organized community, with 58 synagogues, 23 schools and 60 kosher restaurants. We will continue to live as Jews, no doubt about it, but we have to be smarter.”

Meanwhile, the Jewish Chronicle reported on Wednesday, Chief Rabbi of France Haim Korsia urged the Jews of his country to continue wearing skullcaps, and form a “united front.”

In response to the controversy, the leader of Israel’s Jewish Home party, Naftali Bennett, posted the following short comment on his Facebook page: “In the state of Israel, no Jew will ever need to remove his kippa. Ever.”

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