Paris police are reportedly discouraging Jews from lighting the menorah to mark Hanukkah this weekend, after a series of terror attacks last month killed and wounded hundreds. The warning comes as some Jewish leaders have expressed concern about anti-Semitic threats, after Islamic State group supporters attacked several locations -- including a theater that held pro-Israel events -- on Nov. 13.
Jewish organizations in Paris had vowed to hold public Hanukkah ceremonies, including a live concert, starting at sundown Sunday to honor the Jewish holiday. The Jewish outreach organization Chabad Lubavitch is sponsoring more than 60 celebrations and nightly public menorah lightings around Paris, including at the Eiffel Tower. American Jewish DJ Nachum Segal had scheduled a concert titled “Let There Be Light: The Concert of Jewish Unity,” at the Synagogue de la Victoire, or Grand Synagogue of Paris, next week. The show was organized “to celebrate the lives of those living in France, and to honor the Jewish communities,” according to a news release.
France has Europe's largest population of Jews. Last year, more than 6,000 Parisians, dignitaries and visitors participated in The Eiffel Tower menorah lighting. The ceremony has been a tradition for 24 years.
After the November terror attacks in France, extra police were sent to guard the historically Jewish Marais neighborhood in Paris, while a teacher at a Jewish school in Marseilles was stabbed by three attackers who appeared to support the Islamic State group.
Where Jews cannot light the menorah in public, Jews should not live... Paris police tell Chabad not to light their menorahs in public
— ASoldiersMother (@ASoldiersMother) December 1, 2015
Contrary to recent reports, Paris menorah lightings including Sunday's lighting at the Eiffel Tower will continue. pic.twitter.com/FgiyJQKNqK
— Chabad.org (@Chabad) December 1, 2015
In January, Jewish communities in Paris were put on alert after Islamic radicals attacked the Charlie Hebdo magazine office and a kosher supermarket. In 2012, Mohamed Merah, 23, opened fire at an orthodox school in Toulouse in southern France, killing the rabbi and three children. Some Jews have reported removing the mezuzah, the box of parchment Hebrew verses affixed to the entrance of Jewish homes, from their front doors to avoid problems after the attacks.