German Jews warned against wearing kippah
Germany‘s anti-Semitism czar has warned Jewish citizens not to wear the kippah skullcap in public in parts of the country amid a rise in hate crime.
Statistics this month pointed to a rising number of anti-Semitic and anti-foreigner attacks last year, despite a wider fall in politically motivated crimes.
The September 2017 arrival in parliament of the populist AfD, whose leaders openly question Germany’s atonement for the Second World War, is associated with a change in atmosphere. The arrival of more than 1 million migrants, many from Syria, Afghanistan or Iraq, has also influenced the trend.
Attacks against Jews rose by 10 per cent to 1,646 last year with violent attacks against Jews increasing from 37 to 62.
Germany’s chief official on the issue, Felix Klein, told Funke newspapers, that he partly blamed “the lifting of inhibitions and the uncouthness which is on the rise in society”.
“The internet and social media have largely contributed to this but so have constant attacks against our culture of remembrance.
“My opinion has unfortunately changed compared with what it used to be.
“I cannot recommend to Jews that they wear the skullcap at all times everywhere in Germany.”
Klein, whose post was created last year, said the police, teachers and legal sector should receive more training in recognising anti-Semitism.
“The internet and social media have largely contributed to this but so have constant attacks against our culture of remembrance,” Klein said.
Around 90 per cent of attacks were carried out by far-right extremists but assaults carried out by Muslims, connected to Arab broadcasters, were also rising.
Certain television channels “transmit a dreadful image of Israel and Jews”, Klein said.
Jewish Agency leader Isaac Herzog called for safeguards.
“It is unbelievable that 74 years after the end of the Second World War, Jews in Germany are unable to wear kippot on their heads because they fear for their lives,” said Herzog.
He added that it was a symptom of a serious problem across Europe.
“This determination by Mr Klein fits perfectly with what I said before, that Jews are again unable to walk the streets of Europe safely. That’s a fact. I call on all of the governments of Europe and, of course, the government of Germany, to take steps to ensure the safety of Jewish communities.”
Germany’s attitude towards its Jews is always going to be a sensitive issue. Picture credit: Wikimedia