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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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  • HaroldT

    Why don’t observant Jews arm themselves with pepper sprays ?

  • art frank

    So much for freedom in france (soon to be francostan). All Jews should leave for Israel ASAP. There is no future for them in the Jew hating country.

  • A Sanders

    I totally disagree. Muslims can walk about in public wearing the niquab and other religious paraphernalia s why shouldn’t Jews do the same without fear of being stabbed. It is the Authorities job to ensure safety for all. I would urge all male Jews to wear the kippur and tallith as a matter pride and defiance until something is done about this situation. Jews in France dont go around stabbing Muslims or anyone else. I London one can wear a tallith and kippur or Chassidic dress quite openly and attacks and abuse are rare.

  • mel fingerut

    There’s nothing PC about it.
    While he is seeking to prevent attacks on Jews, he is also yielding to Arab hatred. First it will be not wearing kippot,
    then something else, then another thing, further eroding
    the freedom of Jews.
    Following his logic, Jews should avoid shopping in kosher food markets, avoid kosher restaurants, avoid expressing themselves
    as Jew at all.
    Yes, Jews in France face a serious security problem. The government has been lax in protecting Jewish citizens. I personally have written to the French Embassy in Washington to
    express my concerns.
    Rabbi Amar’s advice not only affects Jews in Marseilles, but Jews all over the world.

  • Lauren Goldman

    And so it begins. Jews having to hide who they are to prevent violence against them. This seems to recall another dangerous time for us, in Europe; the 1930s. With the muslim populations in Europe having a much larger birth rate than native Europeans, this sort of violence will keep escalating. Unless there is some magic fix that is not apparent, it would seem that now would be the time to leave Europe, preferably to Israel.

  • Jacob

    Lunatics like that? What do you mean lunatics? Lunatics have become the norm in the American administration. In fact Obama has ordered the press not to use the word lunatic. It’s offensive to those that warship the lunar moon. They are moonbats, they are lunatics and they are offended if you call them a lunatic. And yes they do go to their heaven if they die with a Jews head in their hands. Seventy virgins they get….I am told, I have heard though they are virgin cockroaches. Read the fine print you lunatics!

  • Isaac Semaya

    It is time to arm yourself against an attack. A Baseball bat will do to start. It will also be wise to walk in groups.

  • The French Jewish community reached a critical juncture in 2016. Should the remaining French Jews stay in France or make Aliyah? Mr. Bennett is correct: “In the State of Israel, no Jew will ever need to remove his kippa. Ever.” And the prudent option is to make Aliyah, as soon as possible.

  • Mickey Oberman

    Rabbi Zvi Amar is correct. There is no cowardice in caring so deeply for his fellow Jews.

    On the other hand, Rabbi Korsia who is talking of a “united front” is using a military term without providing his fellow Jews with the means to carry out a military campaign. Brave? Yes. Foolish? Yes, indeed.

    France has the second largest Muslim population of any non Muslim country.
    It is inevitable where it is heading.

    French Jew should think very seriously about life in Israel as opposed to living hell and death in the coming French caliphate.

  • SHmuel HaLevi

    I’ll send these few lines knowing well that they will be as usual, not published.
    In 2003 and 4 I visited Germany and France for a series of technology exchange meetings in Berlin, Frankfurt, Bonn, Hamburg, Staufen, Metz and Paris.
    At that time I was supporting several critical laboratories in Israel and the meetings served to advance relevant specialization requirements.
    I am Jewish and religious.
    A couple of Saturdays we remained in Germany and France and I did not participate on meetings those days while attending services at nearby Synagogues.
    In Frankfurt I walked to Shul carrying my Talit and totting as I always do, my kippah.
    I noticed as I got closer to the Synagogue a few congregants walking furtively, next to the walls towards the Synagogue. They did not wear head cover other than a Basque styled hat.
    As I entered the Hall I was accosted by irate congregants for having endangered myself and the attendants by walking while presenting myself as a Jew.
    Despicable state of soul and mind is rooted deep in the meandering, drifting cowardly Jews.