The Jewish community of France reacted with outrage to the call of far-right politician Marine Le Pen to ban the kippah (skullcap) in public.
Meyer Habib, a Jewish member of the French parliament, spoke with Arutz Sheva about Le Pen's proposed kippah ban. "She is confused and mistaken. It isn't kippahs or burkas or crosses that are causing harm. It is radical Islam that is killing people, and that is what we need to fight."
Le Pen has called for a ban on kippahs to counterbalance France's ban on Muslim women covering their faces in public. “If we banned the burka, we should also ban kippahs in the entire public sector,” Le Pen claimed and said that she has nothing against wearing kippahs but “in the name of equality we have to do this. We cannot just ban Muslim dress because then they will say we hate Muslims.”
The kippah, worn by men only, is basically a visorless cap. It covers only part the back of the head and can not hide a wearer's identity as a burqa does.
Habib said that instead of worrying about what people wear France should learn from Israel. "We should learn from the way Israel is struggling with it (Islamic terrorism). It's the same terror. Why are we even talking about burkas and hijabs? This is a sign of extremist political views and radical nationalism."
Could this law feasibly be passed in the French political system?
"Marine Le Pen won a significant number of votes in the last elections," Habib answered, "but she was not elected president of France under any circumstances. Both the right and the left reject this idea. None of the candidates accept it, even among the Socialists. It won't pass. But even if it did, G-d forbid, the Jews would not take off their kippahs. Those who wear the kippah would sooner leave France."
They would go that far?
"The kippah and the Jews never killed anyone. If they were to say tomorrow that we have to remove the kippah, then they would be saying that there is no place in France for the Jews. That won't happen. We are very tied to France. Unfortunately, we remember how the Jews were forced to wear the yellow patch on our clothes, so France has a moral debt to the Jews," Habib said.
"We need to provide for the freedom of religion of all faiths in the public domain, including the option to keep the commandments. If you put on a kippah you are not bothering anyone. That is how it was and that is how it should continue to be." Habib concluded.