French Interior Minister Manuel Valls on Sunday assured the country's Jews that they could wear their kippas "with pride", in a dismissal of far-right leader Marine Le Pen's call for a ban.
"Yes, France's Jews -- as the interior minister is doing today -- can wear their kippa with pride," Valls said at a traditional Jewish New Year ceremony at a Paris synagogue.
Le Pen had in a Friday interview with the newspaper Le Monde called for religious headwear to be banned in public, making reference to both Muslim veils and the Jewish skullcap, known as the kippa or yarmulke.
She later explained that she was merely asking Jews to make "this little effort, the small sacrifice" to put everybody on an equal footing and rebut the charge that a ban on the veil represented Islamophobia. She admitted, however, that there was no comparison between the veil and a kippa.
Valls denounced the statement by Le Pen, who heads the anti-immigration National Front party and who shocked the French elite by winning almost 18 percent in the first round of this year's presidential vote.
"The hateful, rejecting speech cannot be tolerated and reflects who Le Pen and the National Front are, a party that is very far, so far, from the Republic's values," Valls said.
Menachem Margolin, CEO of the Association of European Jewish organizations (EJA), sent an urgent letter to the Chairman of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, in which he calls on him to convene an urgent plenary of the European Parliament, in order to cut down, as they bud, hallucinatory anti-Semitism initiatives as raised by Marine Le Pen.
He said: "History has shown the most terrible events have occurred over the years the public leaders failed to prevent them from developing, before they even 70 years from the Holocaust, the European Parliament must speak out loud and clear against the initiatives stupid."
Margolin emphasized that the Jews of Europe stand behind the Jews of France and sorry to see that someone who claims to be a European leader joins a wave of anti-Semitism. Margolin calls for Jews everywhere to pray on Yom Kippur for God to thwart the intentions of Marine Le Pen
Le Pen's comments followed the publication of cartoons of Prophet Mohammed on Wednesday in the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, as worldwide protests continued, allegedly against an amateur anti-Islam film made in the US by a Coptic Christian.
Valls also commended the leaders of France's large Muslim community for their "wisdom" after they issued a call for calm Friday in the face of anger over the cartoons and the film, "Innocence of Muslims", which was on youtube for a year until its translation into Arabic set off a wave of riots - allegedly - which just happened to start on 9/11 against American targets in Libya and Egypt.