Upon suggesting that Yom Kippur ought to be made a national holiday in France last month, Eva Joly - candidate for Les Verts - was briskly condemned by the left, the right and the far-right. Marine le Pen went so far as wonder aloud: “I have to ask myself if Eva Joly finds anything good in France, our people, traditions, history and life morals”.
François Hollande’s just-published campaign manifesto - his 60 “engagements” or pledges - reinforced what his spokesman called “the great French principle of secularism”, laïcité, by proposing the constitutionalisation of the 1905 law on separation of church and state. Nicolas Sarkozy shot this down as a “fundamentalist vision of laïcité”, arguing that codification would “exclude from the public sphere references to the cultural or intellectual elements of religion”.
At present, laïcité demands the total exclusion of the church, synagogue or mosque from the affairs of state, treating all religions equally and granting none special rights or privileges above any other. Elevating Yom Kippur to the status of a public holiday would directly challenge this secular status quo.
Read more: http://www.thejc.com/comment-and-debate/analysis/62994/will-french-greens-get-yom-kippur-be-a-national-holiday-not-so-fas