Germany’s warning to Jews on the dangers of wearing the traditional kippah cap in public were a “capitulation to antisemitism” and evidence Jews were unsafe there, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said Sunday.
Germany’s government commissioner on antisemitism, Felix Klein, said in an interview published Saturday he “cannot advise Jews to wear the kippah everywhere all the time in Germany,” due to the rise in anti-Jewish attacks and sentiment.
Rivlin said Klein’s remarks “shocked” him, and while appreciating the German government’s “commitment to the Jewish community,” accused it of bowing to those targeting Jews in Germany.
“Fears about the security of German Jews are a capitulation to antisemitism and an admittance that, again, Jews are not safe on German soil,” he said.
“We will never submit, will never lower our gaze and will never react to antisemitism with defeatism — and expect and demand our allies act in the same way,” he said.
As Breitbart News reported, attacks against Jews rose almost 10 percent in Germany in 2018, with violent acts soaring by more than 60 percent alone, latest crime statistics reveal.
Police recorded 1,646 offenses motivated by antisemitism, according to a government answer to a request by far-left Die Linke party lawmaker Petra Pau.
Among these were 62 violent offenses that left 43 people injured, up from 37 physical attacks the previous year.
In one prominent 2018 case, a 19-year-old Syrian man was convicted for assault after lashing out with his belt at an Israeli man wearing a Jewish kippa skullcap while shouting “yahudi”, Jew in Arabic.
A video of the street assault, filmed by the victim on his smartphone, had sparked widespread public revulsion as it spread on social media, and triggered street rallies in solidarity with Jews.
A mass influx of mostly Muslim, Arab refugees and migrants to Germany from 2015 onwards has corresponded to the sharp uptick in figures, with Germany’s Central Council of Jews saying last November it wants to combat antisemitism among new Arab-Muslim migrants through a government education program.
Vice President Abraham Lehrer told the Protestant Press Service he believes antisemitism among immigrants will become more of a problem as they become more settled in Germany, Welt reported.
“The problem of immigrant Arab-Islamic antisemitism still lies ahead of us. Many of these people were influenced by regimes in which antisemitism is part of the rationale of the state and the Jewish state is denied the right to existence,” Mr. Lehrer said.
Germany has a culture of atonement over atrocities committed during World War II, during which the ruling Nazis orchestrated the murder of some six million Jews in the Holocaust.
Germany’s population of 82.8 million now includes only about 200,000 Jews. Berlin has the biggest concentration, about 40,000. Before Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party came to power, Germany had a Jewish population of about 500,000.