Jews have been advised not to wear their kippah scullcaps in major German cities after another violent assault that targeted a person wearing the traditional Jewish headpiece.
Josef Schuster, the head of Germany’s Central Council of Jews, told broadcaster Radioeins that wearing a kippah is right in principle but increasingly dangerous in practice, so he is advising individuals “against showing themselves openly with a kippah in a big-city setting in Germany, and wear a baseball cap or something else to cover their head instead.”
Schuster added that “our democracy would be at risk” if Germany does not fight anti-Semitism. “This is not only about anti-Semitism — it goes along with racism, it goes along with xenophobia. You need a clear stop sign here.”
The call for Jews to hide signs of their faith follows the assault of Adam Armush, a 21-year-old Israeli Arab who was violently attacked by a 19-year-old Muslim refugee in Berlin capital last Tuesday.
As Breitbart Jerusalem reported, the video of Armush being whipped with a belt while his attacker cries out “Yahudi!” or “Jew” in Arabic quickly went viral. Berlin police identified the attacker as a Palestinian from Syria named Knaan S. who was registered at a refugee home in Brandenburg state outside Berlin, but who most recently was living “out of a suitcase” in the capital.
Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, condemned the attack. “It depresses me that we have not been able to get a handle on anti-Semitism once and for all,” she told Israel’s Channel 10. “We have a new phenomenon of refugees or people of Arab origin who bring another form of anti-Semitism into the country, but sadly we also had anti-Semitism beforehand,” she said.
Marches are due to be held in the cities of Berlin, Cologne, Potsdam, and Erfur on Wednesday in protest against anti-Semitism, with participants encouraged to wear kippahs in solidarity with the Jewish community.
This is not the first time the safety of Jews in Germany has been questioned.
Just last month it was revealed Berlin recorded a twofold increase in anti-Semitic hate crimes between 2013 and 2017, according to the latest German police figures.
A report in Tagesspiegel said police figures seen by the Berlin newspaper show that 288 crimes classified as anti-Semitic were recorded by the German capital’s police in 2017. This is slightly less than double the 149 crimes recorded in 2013.
Such are the fears from Germany’s Jewish community that in January the German government appointed a special commissioner to address the problem. Although the commissioner’s powers are yet to be defined, the Central Council of Jews welcomed the move, calling it an important signal that their concerns were being addressed.