Montpellier resident Perla Danan, president of Crif in the region, mobilized more than ever to defend “the inter-religious bond”

Montpellier resident Perla Danan, president of Crif in the region, mobilized more than ever to defend “the inter-religious bond”

Perla Danan, defender of the interreligious bond: “This harmony existed, it must continue, we must do everything for it.” Free Midi – GIACOMO ITALIANO

President of the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions of France for Languedoc-Roussillon, Perla Danan, from Montpellier, fears more than anything to see the conflict in the Middle East imported into France. In a tense climate, she pleads for dialogue and harmony between religions.

It is not necessarily easy to detect the truths of a woman, of a man, between the folds of a torn and heartbreaking contemporary story. And in the midst of conflict in a burning Middle East, how can you speak peacefully when you yourself are the emblematic regional figure of the Jewish community ?

Thus we reflected while listening to Perla Danan, president of the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions of France for Languedoc-Roussillon, on a very rainy April 30. We first heard him tell… an Arab country, that of his birth, (in Fez, in 1949), that of his family, "for generations". This Morocco that she left at the age of 18 to study pharmacy, in Toulouse, then in Montpellier. "A city that I immediately found incredible !" s’excite- she still today.

Morocco never forgotten

Where she had a career (at Sanofi, and as a lecturer at the pharmacy school), where she lives her life. Married, now divorced, one child, "two adorable granddaughters !", polyglot (< em>"French, Arabic, English, Spanish, a little Hebrew, food Hebrew !"), she doesn" ;rsquo;has never forgotten Morocco, where she returns regularly, where she has certainly forged a number of convictions which still guide her daily action.

"My family, Jewish, was very involved in their community in Morocco, without that causing any problems. We knew each other between communities, each respected the rites, traditions, cultures of the other. A Moroccan could pry the ear of a little Jewish boy on Saturday by saying to him: “But you are not the synagogue, you, today ?” It’s wonderful! This is why I am so involved in the inter-religious bond, in this respect for differences which enriches us even if everyone follows their own path…"

"Great control over one's emotions"

She sighs: "It’s super-important, that’s why we invite ourselves between worship services for our major holidays. This harmony existed, it must continue, we must do everything to".

In her own way, therefore, she is doing it. Since many decades. By first getting involved, "and up to the neck, very quickly", in the associative world, on the initiative of Hubert Allouche, his predecessor at Crif: "He asked me if I could help, introduced me to the associative world. I saw the scope of this action on the ground, when we engage in something that makes sense…"

"She’is a volunteer, very professional, who never gives up, with great control over her emotions" a close friend confided in us ("Since 1973, we have been students, it’it was yesterday"), Martine Marragou, president of the Emmaüs community of Montpellier : "And Perla remains very loyal, both in friendship and in terms of her commitments."

At Crif, at Radio Aviva

Armed with these qualities, Perla Danan charted her course, and succeeded, ten years ago, Hubert Allouche, after his death, as president of the Crif region. She will also replace him at the head of Radio Aviva, based in Montpellier for 40 years, now also present in Nîmes and Perpignan. "She is very demanding, with herself, with others . It has to go quickly and well. She gives a lot" complements Liliane Dray, vice-president of this same radio station.

She will also deploy her energy on the municipal council of Montpellier, during two mandates, with Hélène Mandroux, then Philippe Saurel. "She’is a woman who has always worked for the inter-religious dialogue remembered the latter. We met on this land, to work to ensure that men build bridges rather than dig ditches".

A before and after October 7

"Perla deeply loves interculturality, which she sees as an inestimable wealth in a society" < /em>added Clare Hart, vice-president of the Montpellier metropolis, who carried out a number of actions alongside her.

But in the life of Perla Danan, there will also be a before and after October 7. Since then, she has been wondering, she admits: "Have we failed to convey this message of tolerance, of acceptance differences ? I wonder, seeing this outburst of anti-Semitism."

"I tell myself that we must continue…"

She quickly recovers: "But when I receive words from Muslims, for the Easter holidays, that they wrote after being went to find the right formula in Hebrew, it’s so touching… And there, I tell myself that we must continue…"

Yom HaShoah, the Crif dinner.

Two major community meetings Jewish people are waiting for Perla Danan this Sunday, May 5, and tomorrow, Monday, May 6.

This Sunday, therefore, will begin Yom HaShoah, the day of remembrance of the Shoah, where tribute is paid to the six million Jews who died during the Second World War. À On this occasion, a public, uninterrupted reading for 24 hours, day and night, of the names of the victims of the Shoah is organized.

À Montpellier, the reading will begin at 5 p.m. in the park of the new town hall, the official ceremony will take place at 5 p.m. from 6:30 p.m. "It’is important, to understand and prevent" assures Perla Danan.

The traditional Crif dinner will take place this Monday, May 6, at Paris, and Perla Danan will be present: "It’is a republican meeting, whereù the whole of society Civil society is represented, as well as constituted bodies, religions, and government. This is an important moment for exchanges. And two speeches are delivered. That of the president of Crif, and that of the president of the Republic."

Or the Prime Minister if applicable, as will be the case this year, since Emmanuel Macron will be represented by Gabriel Attal.

However, she does not hide her concern, faced "with the insidious slippage of words, when we compare a university president to Eichmann…& quot;.

Or in front of slogans heard in universities during demonstrations in support of the Palestinians: "Where are we going ? Jewish students are afraid of ;go to class… Freedom of expression is not about calling for hatred. It impacts the Jewish community as a whole. When we meet and the police, whom we sincerely thank, are not there, we are now worried. Is this normal ?".

"Two countries in peace and freedom"

And to recall that Crif has maintained the same position for ten years : "Two countries in peace and freedom. And we stand in solidarity with the Israeli people, not the government."

Targeted by name during pro-Palestinian demonstrations in Montpellier, her name chanted or whistled in certain processions, she was also able to measure the impact of social networks, when these images and sounds were put online. She admits to feeling "threatened", she knows how to be "protected".

"A form of devotion given to one's mission"

The prefect of Hérault, François-Xavier Lauch, confirms:“I've only known her for six months. I arrived on October 9 in Hérault, so he was one of the first people I met. And when she was attacked by public harangue, I put in place protective measures, I gave her my support. She is a very endearing woman, through the form of devotion she gives to her mission. She is a Republican, with a lot of courage. We need it, at the moment, in Montpellier, to play out interreligious dialogue. She is the ferment. She could have given up. She didn’do it."

"There are still fights to be fought"

And if she allows herself "once a year, a break of three, four days, just the two of us" as Martine Marragou slips, Perla Danan does not intend to retreat. "There are still battles to be fought, unfortunately", she sighs.

And to breathe, seriously, before leaving us: "We must not hide, we cannot live like hidden citizens, even if in Montpellier we are very supported. But before, it’s true, during commemorations, we always said: “Never again”. Today’ ;Today, I would add a question mark."

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