German government asks people to wear kippah

Official’s remarks had sparked uproar

Updated - May 28, 2019 09:30 pm IST

Published - May 28, 2019 09:29 pm IST

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said it was a “capitulation to anti-Semitism” and evidence that Jews are unsafe in Germany.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said it was a “capitulation to anti-Semitism” and evidence that Jews are unsafe in Germany.

The German government has called on people to wear the Jewish kippah ahead of an anti-Israel protest as a demonstration of solidarity and as Jews face a spike in anti-Semitism, withdrawing an earlier warning against wearing the traditional skullcap.

At the weekend, Felix Klein, the country’s commissioner on anti-Semitism, sparked uproar when he said in an interview that he could not “advise Jews to wear the kippah everywhere all the time in Germany.”

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin voiced shock at Mr. Klein’s warning and said it was a “capitulation to anti-Semitism” and evidence that Jews are unsafe in Germany.

Late on Monday, Mr. Klein reversed course after Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman intervened. “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 kippah ,” said Steffen Seibert.

In his latest statement, Mr. Klein said: “I call on all citizens of Berlin and across Germany to wear the kippah next Saturday if there are new, intolerable attacks targeting Israel and Jews on the occasion of al-Quds day in Berlin.”

Al-Quds is an annual event against Israeli control of Jerusalem and will take place on Saturday.

Klein also addressed his earlier statements, saying that he “could no longer recommend that Jews wear the kippa everywhere in Germany should be taken as an alarm signal.”

Earlier Monday, German daily Bild published a cut-out-and-use kippa in a bid to fight rising anti-Semitism.

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 anti-Semitism”.

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