The German government advised German Jews not to wear their traditional Kippah caps Saturday, amid concerns about rising anti-Semitism.
Dr. Felix Klein, Germany’s commissioner for combating anti-Semitism, advised German Jews Saturday, not to wear the traditional Jewish Kippah head wear due to a recent surge in anti-Semitic attacks, the Guardian reports.
“I cannot advise Jews to wear the kippah everywhere, all the time, in Germany,” Klein said to the Funke regional press group in an interview.
The comments sparked a flurry of criticism from foreign officials including Richard Grenell, U.S. ambassador to Germany, and President Reuven Rivlin of Israel.
Grenell responded to the message from Klein on Twitter, saying, “The opposite is true. Wear your kippa. Wear your friend’s kippa. Borrow a kippa and wear it for our Jewish neighbors. Educate people that we are a diverse society.”
The opposite is true. Wear your kippa. Wear your friend’s kippa. Borrow a kippa and wear it for our Jewish neighbors. Educate people that we are a diverse society. https://t.co/vd9nV9AvPG
— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) May 26, 2019
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said Sunday that he was “shocked” by Klein’s advisement and said that is was a “capitulation to antisemitism.”
“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 said, according to the Guardian. (RELATED: Al Jazeera Gets Twitter To Silence Critics Of Its Video Implying Jews Benefited From The Holocaust)
He continued, “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.”
Threats of anti-Semitic violence have been prevalent in Germany for some time due largely to the growing presence of far-right political elements in Europe, according to the Guardian.
Klein stated in the interview, “Antisemitism has always been here. But I think that recently, it has again become louder, more aggressive and flagrant.”
President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Josef Schuster, echoed a similar message to Klein’s in 2018, saying on Berlin public radio that “I would advise individual people against openly wearing a kippa in big German cities,” and that German Jews should exercise caution, according to AFP.
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