German chancellor Merkel commits to ensuring security for Jews with kippahs
search

German chancellor Merkel commits to ensuring security for Jews with kippahs

Comment comes after anti-Semitism czar advises Jews not to wear religious headgear in certain areas, following an upsurge in attacks

German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrives for the weekly cabinet meeting of the German government at the chancellery in Berlin, October 24, 2018. (Markus Schreiber/AP)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrives for the weekly cabinet meeting of the German government at the chancellery in Berlin, October 24, 2018. (Markus Schreiber/AP)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman on Monday stressed the country’s responsibility to ensure security for all Jews wearing kippahs anywhere in the country without having to fear an anti-Semitic attack.

“It’s the job of the state to ensure that anybody can move around securely with a skullcap in any place of our country,” Steffen Seibert said.

The comments came after the government’s anti-Semitism commissioner, Felix Klein, said he wouldn’t advise Jews to wear the traditional Jewish head-covering in parts of the country.

Felix Klein said his “opinion has unfortunately changed compared with what it used to be” on the matter. He said: “I cannot recommend to Jews that they wear the skullcap at all times everywhere in Germany.” He did not elaborate on what places and times might pose a danger.

In this April 25, 2018 file photo, people wear Jewish skullcaps, as they attend a demonstration against an anti-Semitic attack in Berlin. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

Government statistics released earlier this month showed that the number of anti-Semitic and anti-foreigner incidents rose in Germany last year, despite an overall drop in politically motivated crimes.

On Monday, Bild, Germany’s largest newspaper, printed a Jewish skullcap on the front page so that Germans can cut it out and wear it in solidarity with the local Jewish community.

“If even one person in our country can’t wear a kippah without putting themselves in danger, the only answer is that we all wear a kippah,” Bild’s editor-in-chief Julian Reichelt tweeted on Sunday. “The kippah belongs to Germany! That’s why tomorrow the kippah will be printed for cutting out on page one.”

He called Klein’s position “shocking.”

Felix Klein, the German government’s first-ever special envoy to the Jewish community, at the ‘Berlin wears a kippah’ protest, April 25, 2018 (courtesy BMI)

Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin said Sunday the German anti-Semitism official’s comments “shocked me deeply.”

“We acknowledge and appreciate the 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 anti-Semitism and an admission that, again, Jews are not safe on German soil,” Rivlin said in a statement.

read more:
comments