BBC: A call for French Jews to remove their skullcaps to make themselves less vulnerable to attack has provoked a social media campaign calling for more or less the opposite.
Using a hashtag #TousAvecUneKippa (Everyone with a kippah), thousands are calling on French people of all backgrounds to don the traditional Jewish skullcap and post a selfie on social media this Friday in a show of solidarity against anti-Semitic attacks.
Earlier this week Zvi Ammar, the main Jewish leader in the French city of Marseille urged men to stop wearing the skullcap, “to avoid being identified as Jewish”. He said the “exceptional measure” was needed to protect Jewish lives. The advice was given in direct response to a violent anti-Semitic attack on a teacher. On Monday Benjamin Amsellem - who was wearing a skullcap at the time - was attacked with a machete and left with an injured shoulder and hand. A 15-year-old boy has appeared in court charged with the attack. Prosecutors say he claimed to have carried out the crime out of loyalty to the so-called Islamic State.
France’s president, Francois Hollande, has already called the idea that Jewish people should need to hide their identity “intolerable”. And now social media users in the country are trying to turn the idea on its head, by calling for everyone to wear a kippah on Friday.
France’s 500,000 Jewish population is the third largest in the world, behind Israel and the United States. Anti-Semitic attacks are rising across the country. But France’s chief rabbi, Haim Korsia, has rejected the notion that Jews should make themselves safer by taking off their skullcaps. “We should not give in to anything, we will continue to wear the kippah,” he said.