The leader of France’s National Front party has told an Israeli TV channel that she believes French Jews should be banned from wearing a Kippah as part of “the struggle against radical Islam.”
Marine Le Pen, the head of the far-Right political force, was speaking to Israel’s Channel 2 News, in an interview which aired on Friday.
“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," Ms Le Pen said.
"But I mainly think the struggle against radical Islam should be a joint struggle and everyone should say, ‘there, we are sacrificing something.’
“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."
Ms Le Pen has made a conscious effort to move the National Front party away from the reputation it had under the leadership of her father, Jean Marie Le Pen. Mr Le Pen has made controversial statements concerning Jews and other minority groups, and been prosecuted for Holocaust denial. In 2015, he was expelled by his daughter from the party he founded and led for decades.
However, the French Jewish community has continued to view the Front National with some suspicion. Roger Cukierman, the head of CRIF (Conseil Représentatif des Institutions Juives de France) told the Jewish Telegraph Agency at the time that the expulsion of Mr Le Pen was “a dramatic occurrence, “but one that occurred at the top, with little effect on the main body of what remains a xenophobic party.”
Talking to Channel 2, Ms Le Pen also claimed “patriotism is never racism.” She also defended Donald Trump’s ban on citizens of seven countries entering the USA, saying it was not an assault on Muslims.
“There are dozens of Muslim countries in the world that are not on this list”, she said.
“On the other hand, the fact that there are 15 countries that prevent entry to Israelis is not troubling anyone."