The sequence makes some people cringe. While Emmanuel Macron held a ceremony on Thursday evening in the Salle des Fêtes of the Élysée, for the Lord Jacobovits Prize - awarded to European heads of state and government (such as Angela Merkel in 2013 or King Felipe in 2016), who fight against anti-Semitism and defend the freedom to practice the Jewish religion - the head of state participated in the first lighting of the candle of the Hanukkah holiday. Several videos circulating on social networks show the President of the Republic, alongside the Chief Rabbi of France Haim Korsia, who lights the candlestick in front of him.
While Emmanuel Macron obviously did not participate in any religious act or word, in the name of the secularism of the State and its duty of neutrality towards all religions, this filmed moment is beginning to annoy the opposition. On Thursday evening, the LR mayor of Cannes, David Lisnard, asked himself "how can one refuse to participate in a civic march against anti-Semitism on the incongruous and fallacious grounds of safeguarding national unity, and celebrate a religious holiday in the presidential palace?" It is true that the president did not take part in the big demonstration on 12 November, which brought together the entire political class, including the representatives of the RN, with the exception of the rebellious leaders. The president of the Association of Mayors of France (AMF) mocked "a first" that is, according to him, "contrary to secularism".
The Elysée Palace, a "place of worship"
The left, for its part, is not to be outdone. "Tonight, the Élysée Palace has become a place of worship. And Sunday morning, Mass in Latin? Secularism, when you hold us," said LFI MP Adrien Quatennens. "This president is navigating by sight, without principle or guidance. The Republic was waiting for him to demonstrate against anti-Semitism, he wasn't there, secular, it wasn't waiting for him for a religious party at the Élysée," former senator and PS member David Assouline also scoffed. "France is a secular republic, the Elysée and town halls cannot be places of celebration of religions," criticized the socialist mayor of Montpellier Michael Delafosse.