Unlike in Switzerland, where some in the Jewish community may have stupidly protested banning minarets on mosques, in France, they understand why burqas and niqabs are oppressive to women
. First, the article begins with the concern that half the country's Jewish population doesn't have a connection to Judaism:
Mergui believes assimilation is the biggest problem French Jewry has to take on.
“About half of France’s 600,000 Jews have no connection to Judaism,” he said.
“By Judaism I mean not only those who are observant and live it every day but also those who go once a year to synagogue on Yom Kippur, hold a Seder with their grandparent on Pessah, feel strongly about the Holocaust or even go on vacation to Eilat once a year – I consider all this to be Jewish involvement.
About 200,000 to 300,000 Jews do none of that, and we have to get them involved again.”
To achieve this, Mergui has set up a program called Hazak, meaning “strong” in Hebrew, tasked with stirring up communal activity mostly in provincial towns and cities where the Jewish communities are slowly fading.
However, he believes the main problem facing the Jewish community is the unholy marriage of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism by extreme leftists, rightists and Islamists.
“My predecessor called it the Red-Green Alliance,” he said. “Some on the left don’t mind being allied with Islamic extremists like those who were on the Mavi Marmara [Gaza protest ship]. And many people in the center are being influenced by their views of Israel, so much so that they question their own policy toward it.”
If Israel wants to change this disconcerting trend it needs better “hasbara,” or advocacy, Prasquier said. But is Israel’s problem a matter of style or substance? In other words, should it reconsider the effectiveness of its publicity machine or reevaluate its basic policies, especially in regards to the Palestinians, as some prominent European Jews who formed J Cal, a “pro-Israel, pro-peace” offshoot of the American J Street, recently argued in a public letter.
“Some very notable Jews who I have a lot of respect for signed the J Cal letter, but it was a mistake,” Prasquier said. “We have no legitimacy in deciding internal Israeli politics and one has to bear in mind a critical factor that this is not a conflict between the Czech and Slovak republics.
My prime concern is caring for the welfare of Israel.”
Mergui and Prasquier agree that Islamic veils completely or mostly covering women’s faces are contrary to the notion of being French and support the bill that would ban them in public. Yes, they both worry government interference over Jewish issues like shehita ritual slaughter, which some animal rights groups want to ban citing cruelty. But burqas are a another matter, they say.
“A majority of Muslims in France say these veils have nothing to do with Islam,” Mergui said.
“To me it is a breach of the social contract,” Prasquier said. “Women are separated from society in such a way that you cannot even see their faces.”
I'm very glad to see that they may realize that J Cal could be as bad as J Street, the US-based bunch of phonies, and they understand the problems with Islamic oppression of women too, because it's a serious problem that can affect even non-Muslims, and the arguments over whether ritual slaughter is appropriate are nothing compared to that. By focusing on the seriousness of Islamofascism, that's how they can work things out for the better.
Labels: Europe, France, islam, Israel, misogyny