Marseille anti-Semitic attack sparks debate on wearing skullcaps
Marseille (AFP) - The latest in a string of anti-Semitic attacks in Marseille sparked a debate Tuesday on whether Jewish men and boys should stop wearing skullcaps to avoid being targeted.
"Unfortunately for us, we are targeted," Marseille's top Jewish leader Zvi Ammar told AFP. "As soon as we are identified as Jewish we can be assaulted and even risk death," he said, calling on Jewish men and boys to stop wearing the kippa "until better days".
But France's chief rabbi Haim Korsia rejected the call, telling AFP: "We should not give an inch, we should continue wearing the kippa."
Roger Cukierman, the head of France's umbrella grouping of Jewish organisations, CRIF, agreed, saying the call reflected "a defeatist attitude".
Ammar's urging came the day after an attack in broad daylight on a Jewish teacher who was wearing a skullcap and carrying a Torah.
"We have to hide ourselves a little bit," he said, adding that making such an appeal made him "sick to the stomach".
Monday's attack by a 15-year-old Turkish Kurd 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 Paris.
The assailant, who investigators believe was self-radicalised via the Internet, claimed he was acting in the name of the Islamic State group.
He slashed 35-year-old Benjamin Ansellem in the shoulder and hand in a scuffle that saw the victim, who fell to the ground, using his Torah as a shield to try to fend off the attack.GO READ THE WHOLE THING.