French Jewish leader asks faithful to forego kippa to stay safe
PARIS — A leading Jewish authority in Marseille, in southern France, asked fellow Jews on Tuesday to refrain from wearing their traditional skull cap to stay safe after a machete-wielding teen attacked a Jewish teacher. 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 — then told police after his arrest that he acted in the name of the Islamic State 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 and iTele. 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. 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.