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German official warns Jews not to wear religious yarmulke caps in public

Jewish man in skullcap. (Pixabay/Released)
May 28, 2019

A top German official wants Jewish citizens to remove their religious headpieces to avoid falling victim to hate crimes.

While speaking to Germany’s Funke newspaper, Commissioner Felix Klein said it is too risky for Jews to wear their customary skullcaps – the yarmulke or kippah – everywhere in the country, Fox News reported Sunday.

“I cannot recommend to Jews that they wear the skullcap at all times everywhere in Germany,” Klein said.

Klein, who is the commissioner on anti-Semitism, said his opinion has changed. While he acknowledges it’s “provocative,” he noted that he “wanted to initiate a debate about the safety of the Jewish community in our country,” Fox reported.

“Of course I believe that there must not be no-go areas anywhere in Germany for Jews or members of other minorities,” he noted.

However, Klein did not specify which areas he considered to be “no-go areas.”

“The internet and social media have also strongly contributed to this – but also the continuous attacks on our culture of remembrance,” Klein said, CNN reported.

The remarks come in light of a 10-percent annual rise in attacks against Jews in Germany, Fox News noted, citing German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle.

Klein also told CNN in a previous interview that “anti-Semitism has always existed in Germany,” however, he believes now it is “showing its ugly face more openly.”

Last year, Josef Schuster, the leader of Germany’s top Jewish group the Central Council of Jews, issued a similar message.

“I have to advise people to avoid showing themselves openly with a kippa in a big city setting in Germany, and to wear a baseball cap or something else to cover their head instead,” Schuster said while on a German radio program, Sky News had reported.

“Most of society realizes we have reached a tipping point,” Schuster added at the time.

The warnings have not been well-received, and a prominent Jewish figure has spoken out against the remarks.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said, “The statement of the German government’s anti-Semitism commissioner that it would be preferable for Jews not wear a kippa in Germany out of fear for their safety, shocked me deeply.”

“We will never submit, will never lower our gaze and will never react to anti-Semitism with defeatism — and expect and demand our allies act in the same way,” he added.