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.
“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 minimised 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.