Does the celebration of Hanukkah on the Elysée represent an assault on secularism? | EUROtoday

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The scene lasted just a few seconds, nevertheless it already sparked an enormous political outcry. In a video shared on social networks by Rabbi Mendel Samama, we see the Chief Rabbi of France, Haïm Korsia, lighting a Hanukkah candle, on the primary day of this non secular competition of lights celebrated by the Jewish neighborhood.

A standard Jewish track is then sung. Problem: the scene takes place within the get together room of the presidential palace and underneath the eyes of the Head of State, on the finish of a gathering organized Thursday night on the Elysée between Emmanuel Macron and members of the European Conference of Rabbis (CER).

On this Friday, December 8, the eve of the anniversary of the 1905 legislation, many see it as a transparent departure from the precept of secularism, even throughout the highest place of the Republic.

What are the arguments of the totally different camps?

“On Saturday, we will celebrate the anniversary of the 1905 law on the separation of Church and State. This evening, Macron tramples her by organizing a religious ceremony at the Elysée »for example, was outraged by the national coordinator of La France insoumise, Manuel Bompard, on “unforgivable political mistake”. “The Elysée is not a place of worship (…) We do not compromise with secularism”additionally declared Thursday night the socialist president of the Occitanie area, Carole Delga, on X (ex-Twitter).

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“How can we refuse to participate in a civic march against anti-Semitism on the incongruous and fallacious grounds of safeguarding national unity, and celebrate a religious festival within the presidential palace? To my knowledge, this is a first. Against secularism »was also offended by the mayor (Les Républicains) of Cannes, David Lisnard.

“If the President of the Republic had performed a religious gesture, or had participated in a ceremony, it would not be respectful of secularism. But that didn’t happen.”, for his part defended Emmanuel Macron, questioned on the subject on the sidelines of a visit to the Notre-Dame cathedral construction site. Declaring that he had made a gesture towards the Jewish community, in a context of rising anti-Semitism, he called for proof “common sense and kindness ». “Secularism is not the erasure of religions nor interfering in religions”, “it is a law of freedom”he continued.

The Head of State thus underlines that it was not a “ceremony” which was organized on the Elysée, however that it was the presentation of the annual Lord Jakobovits prize of the CER, which rewards the battle towards anti-Semitism and the safety of non secular freedoms – Angela Merkel obtained it in 2013, as did King Felipe of Spain in 2016.

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