Majority of France opposes call for Jews to remove yarmulkes

Ben Sales

PARIS (JTA) — Seventy percent of respondents to a survey conducted in France said that it would be giving in to terrorists if Jews were forced to remove their yarmulkes for security reasons.

The survey commissioned by the Paris Match weekly news magazine and conducted on Jan. 14-15 among 1,011 adults was published Friday following one community leader’s call to Jews in Marseille not to wear their yarmulkes.

Tzvi Amar, the president of the Marseille office of the Consistoire — the communal organization responsible for providing religious services — called on his city’s Jews to hide traditional head coverings following the stabbing of a Jewish man in Marseille on Jan. 11. It was the third stabbing of a Jew wearing a yarmulke in Marseille since October.

Amar’s suggestion was squarely rejected by other community representatives and by French Chief Rabbi Haim Korsia, who called on French Jews to keep wearing yarmulkes “to not give in to the terrorists.”

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In the Paris Match survey, conducted by the Odoxa polling company, 36 percent of respondents said they “absolutely agreed” with Korsia’s assertion, and another 34 percent indicated they “pretty much agree.”

Ten percent of respondents, who were pre-selected to represent French society’s voting pattern distribution, said they “totally disagree” and another 19 percent said they “rather disagree.”

Left-wing and right-wing respondents answered similarly in the poll, with 71 percent supporting the assertion on the right — including 66 percent within the far-right National Front party — and 76 percent approving on the left.

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