Germany Tells Jews to Stop Wearing Yarmulkes; US Ambassador Calls for Non-Jews to Don Kippa in Protest

May 26, 2019

2 min read

European Anti-Semitism

Germany’s top official in charge of combatting antisemitism said that Jews should refrain from wearing visible marks of their Jewish identity in certain sections of the country.

In an interview with Funke newspaper, Felix Klein blamed “increasing social disinhibition and brutality” for the difficult reality, saying that “the internet and social media have largely contributed to this, but so have constant attacks against our culture of remembrance.”

Official figures showed 1,646 hate crimes against Jews were committed in 2018 – an increase of 10% on the previous year. Physical attacks against Jews in Germany also rose in the same period, with 62 violent incidents recorded, up from 37 in 2017. Jerusalem Post reported that according to the German Ministry of the Interior, “right-wing extremists committed 90% of the 1,800 incidents in 2018. The real number of Islamic-animated antisemitic attacks in Germany is not well documented due to authorities characterizing Islamic antisemitism as right-wing antisemitism.”

“My opinion has unfortunately changed compared with what it used to be,” he said: “I cannot recommend to Jews that they wear the skullcap at all times everywhere in Germany.”

He didn’t specify which places and times might be risky.

Klein went on to recommend that education was needed to change the situation. “There is much insecurity among police and government officials in dealing with anti-Semitism. Many officials do not know what is allowed and what is not,” Klein said. “There is a clear definition of antisemitism, and it has to be taught in police schools,” adding, “It likewise belongs in the education of teachers and lawyers.

Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin reacted to the German statement on Sunday.
“The statement of the German government’s antisemitism commissioner, that it would be preferable for Jews not wear a kippah in Germany out of fear for their safety, shocked me deeply,” Rivlin said. “Responsibility for the welfare, the freedom and the right to the religious belief of every member of the German Jewish community is in the hands of the German government and its law enforcement agencies. We acknowledge and appreciate moral position of the German government, and its commitment to the Jewish community that lives there, but fears about the security of German Jews are a capitulation to antisemitism and an admittance that, again, Jews are not safe on German soil.”
Rivlin declared “We will never submit, will never lower our gaze and will never react to antisemitism with defeatism – and we expect and demand our allies act in the same way.”
The U.S. Ambassador to Germany responded in a tweet, calling on all people, Jews and non-Jews, to wear kippas.

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