A bare 24-hours after the German government warned Jews not to wear their traditional kippah in public places due to rising antisemitism, it now wants them to continue the practice to help defeat anti-Jewish sentiment.
At the weekend, Felix Klein, the country’s commissioner on anti-Semitism sparked uproar when he said Germany was becoming too dangerous for Jews to wear their traditional skullcap in public places.
“I cannot advise Jews to wear the Kippah everywhere all the time in Germany,” Felix Klein said in an interview published by the Funke regional press group.
Klein, whose post was created last year, cited “the lifting of inhibitions and the uncouthness which is on the rise in society” as factors behind a rising incidence of antisemitism.
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin voiced dismay at Klein’s warning.
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, an example of which can be seen below:
“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.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman agreed with Rivlin and late Monday called on Jews to wear the skullcap, AFP reports.
“The state must see to it that the free exercise of religion is possible for all… and that anyone can go anywhere in our country in full security wearing a kippa,” Steffen Seibert told a press conference, urging Jews everywhere to don their Kippahs with pride.
Earlier Monday, German daily Bild published a cut-out-and-use kippah to be worn in “solidarity” with German Jews.
Bild, Germany’s top-selling daily newspaper, called on readers to “stand in solidarity with (their) Jewish neighbours” by making “their own kippa”, bearing the star of David, to “raise the flag against antisemitism”.
About 200,000 Jews live in Germany, Europe’s third largest community after Britain and France, up from only about 15,000 after the end of the Nazi Third Reich.
The Central Council of Jews in Germany has already issued several warnings about wearing the kippah in public.