French far right party leader Marine Le Pen and candidate for the 2017 French Presidential elections presenting her New Year’s wishes to the press at her campaign headquarters in Paris, Jan. 4. Photo by Christophe Morin/IP3/Getty Images

Marine Le Pen: French Jews should sacrifice yarmulke in struggle against radical Islam


French far-right leader Marine Le Pen said French Jews should give up the wearing of yarmulkes as part of the country’s struggle to defeat radical Islam.

In an interview with Israel’s Channel 2 that aired Friday, Le Pen expressed support for banning the wearing of yarmulkes as part of her broader effort to outlaw religious symbols in public, Britain’s Jewish Chronicle reported Sunday.

“Honestly, the dangerous situation in which Jews in France live is such that those who walk with a kippah are in any case a minority because they are afraid,” Le Pen said, using the Hebrew word for yarmulke. “But I mainly think the struggle against radical Islam should be a joint struggle and everyone should say, ‘There, we are sacrificing something.’”

Referring to French Jews, Le Pen added: “Maybe they will do with just wearing a hat, but it would be a step in the effort to stamp out radical Islam in France.”

Le Pen is a leading contender in the upcoming French presidential contest, with a recent poll showing her advancing to the second round of balloting in May but still losing handily to front-runner Emmanuel Marcon. Her political party, the National Front, was founded by her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, who routinely minimized the Holocaust.

The younger Le Pen has sought to move the party past her father’s controversies, but French Jewish leaders still consider the National Front anti-Semitic.

German Jewish leader warns against wearing kipah in Muslim neighborhoods


A Jewish leader in Germany advised Jews not to wear yarmulkes in neighborhoods with large Muslim populations.

Josef Schuster, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, in an interview Thursday with the Berlin-based radio station rbb Inforadio recommended wearing a hat instead.

“The question is whether, in areas with a large proportion of Muslims, it is sensible to be recognized as a Jew by wearing a kipah or if it isn’t better to wear some other form of headcovering,” he said. “That is a development that I didn’t expect five years ago and is a little alarming.”

Schuster clarified that he did not believe that Jews in Germany should hide out of fear. He also said that most Jewish institutions in Germany are well protected.

The council’s former president, Charlotte Knobloch, had advised German Jews not to make themselves conspicuous as Jews in public.

‘Magic Kippa’ designed for attack-wary observant Jews


The Associated Press reported today that, in response to the increasing numbers of anti-Semitic attacks in Europe, an Israeli barber has designed yarmulkes that blend in with the wearer’s hair.

Called the “Magic Kippa,” the head coverings, made of synthetic hair, are washable, brushable and dyeable. Inventor Shalom Koresh told the AP he invented them so that observant Jewish men “could feel comfortable going to places where they are afraid to go, or places where they can’t wear it and feel secure.”

He noted that the yarmulkes, which sell online for $56 and up, are particularly popular with French and Belgian buyers.

Koresh may also want to consider marketing in Malmo, Switzerland. In a sort-of riff on the viral “Walking Around New York City While Female” video, a Swedish reporter recently walked around the heavily Muslim city while wearing a kippah and secretly recorded the reactions he received. In footage that aired on Swedish television this week, he was hit once and cursed at by numerous passersby.

Leaked Quebec plan would ban kippot on public workers


A plan by Quebec’s government to ban “religious symbols,” including yarmulkes or kippot, among public sector workers has elicited worry from religious minorities in the Canadian province.

The bill would seek to ban public employees from wearing large Christian crosses or religious headwear such as that worn by Sikhs, Muslims and Jews while at work.

Richard Marceau, a former politician who now advises the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, wrote a column for Huffington Post criticizing the proposal.

“How could one believe that a kippah-wearing Jewish librarian is … trying to impose his religion on society?” Marceau wrote.

The details of the proposed law were leaked to the Montreal Journal last week, but the Parti Quebecois, which heads the provincial government, has refused to confirm them or answer questions related to the issue.

Canada’s multiculturalism minister, Jason Kenney, offered tepid criticism of the proposal, saying it was important to wait until a bill was made public.

Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau was more critical.

“I have enormous concerns for the limits that would be imposed on people, on their religion and on their freedom of expression,” he said.