A leading Jewish authority in the French city Marseille has asked fellow Jews to refrain from wearing their traditional skull cap to stay safe after a machete-wielding teen attacked a Jewish teacher.

Zvi Ammar, head of the Israelite Consistory of Marseille, said on Tuesday that he is asking Jews to go without the kippa "until better days."

He called this the hardest decision of his life, but said he prefers "being criticized for making this decision than regretting one day if by misfortune something very grave occurs."

Ammar spoke on TV stations BFM and iTele.

A 15-year-old Turkish Kurd was arrested after attacking a Jewish teacher in a Marseille street. He told police he acted in the name of the Islamic State group. An investigation for terrorism has been opened.