The chief rabbi of France, Rabbi Haim Corsia, on Tuesday rejected a call by the leader of Marseille’s Jewish community for Jews in the city to stop wearing kippot (skullcaps) to avoid being targeted by extremists.
“We should not give an inch, we should continue wearing the kippah,” Rabbi Corsia said, according to AFP.
Rabbi Corsia also took to Facebook, saying that conceding to the pressure and not wearing a kippah would be tantamount to recognizing the traditional Jewish head covering as a “provocation.”
He was reacting to a call by Zvi Ammar, head of the Israelite Consistory in Marseille, which has witnessed a string of attacks on Jews recently.
Roger Cukierman, the head of France’s umbrella grouping of Jewish organizations, CRIF, agreed with Rabbi Corsia, telling AFP that Ammar’s advice reflected “a defeatist attitude.”
Ammar’s call came a day after a Jewish teacher in Marseille was stabbed by a 15-year-old Turkish Kurd.
The teenager, who told police he was acting in the name of Islamic State (ISIS), stabbed the 35-year-old teacher in the shoulder and hand in the attack, which took place in broad daylight.
Monday’s attack was the third on Jews in recent months in Marseille, which counts some 70,000 Jews in a population of 855,000, making it the second-largest Jewish population in France after that of Paris.
The attacks in Marseille are a reflection of the overall rise in anti-Semitic incidents throughout Europe and specifically in France. In 2014 alone, 164 violent anti-Semitic incidents occurred in France – more than any other European nation.