In France, which is becoming an increasingly unsafe place for Jews — especially those who openly identify as Jews — it is particularly dangerous for Jewish men to wear a kipa in public.
So some non-Jews wore a kipa in public last week.
As a sign of solidarity with the French Jewish community, during the week that coincided with International Holocaust Remembrance Day, several newspapers and political leaders called on all citizens to don the Jewish skullcap – in response to suggestions by Jewish leaders in Marseilles and Germany, to avoid wearing a kipa “until better days.” In other words, in order not to attract the attention of anti-Semites.
A recent survey by the European Union’s Fundamental Rights Agency found that a third of European Jews have already stopped wearing religious symbols.
In response, the European Coalition for Israel (ECI) proposed an international “Wear-A-Kippah” campaign (#WearAKippah) to raise awareness about the growing anti-Semitism in Europe. And women were encouraged to wear a visible Jewish symbol. French Chief Rabbi Haim Korsia called on soccer fans in Marseilles to attend a major match last week wearing a kipa.
Il Foglio, an Italian newspaper, included a white kipa in one of its editions last week and declared, “We stand publicly behind it. If you want to do the same, send your picture to Il Foglio at the email address email@example.com.”
“We cannot accept that Jewish communities in France and elsewhere in Europe have to live in fear 71 years after the liberation of Europe,” said Thomas Sandell, ECI’s founding director. “We will follow the example of the late King of Denmark, Christian X, who, during the time of the Nazi-occupation of Denmark, responded to the threats that Jews should wear a yellow star by saying, ‘If the Jews have to wear a yellow star we will all wear it.’”
The campaign attracted the participation of regular citizens and members of France’s National Assembly.
Protesters hold paper kipas lettered with the words “Don’t touch my kipa” in Marseilles, above, and a protestor in the port city holds a placard with the same words, inset.