Following Assault, Top German Jewish Leader Urges Community: Don't Wear Kippas

Lawrence Kim
April 27, 2018

According to Schuster, the safety of adherents of the Jewish faith could no longer be guaranteed in light of recent incidents of violence motivated by antisemitism in Germany.

Noting the rise in anti-Semitism in Europe, Haartez said Jewish students have reported anti-Semitic bullying in schools in recent months and Israeli flags were burned during a recent protest in Berlin. But he stressed there's increasing anti-Semitic sentiment among non-migrants.

Joining heated debate over an apparent increase in the incidence of anti-Semitic crimes, German Chancellor and Christian Democratic Union (CDU) leader Angela Merkel expressed the view that policymakers now faced the challenge of a "different form of antisemitism" compared with the views traditionally espoused by far-right parties.

The latest attack to shock France took place in March when an 85-year-old Holocaust survivor, Mireille Knoll, was found in her burned Paris apartment with 11 stab wounds in a crime confirmed to be anti-Semitic in nature.

The president of the European Jewish Association, Rabbi Menachem Margolin called on Josef Schuster, the leader of Germany's Jewish community, to withdraw his comments, saying "Jews - or any other religious or ethnic groups - should not be encouraged to give up their religious attributes".

Angela Merkel said the authorities had appointed a new commissioner to fight anti-Semitism.

The warning comes after a videoed attack last week in central Berlin, in which two men wearing kippahs were set upon and whipped with a belt by a group of three men who shouted "Yahudi" - the Arabic word for Jew. He later told German news media that he is a non-Jewish Israeli from Haifa and that he had donned the kippah to prove to another friend that Berlin is not as anti-Semitic as rumor would have it.

Berlin-based Jewish Forum for Democracy and Against Anti-Semitism disagreed with Schuster's advice calling on Jews to continue to wear their yarmulkes.

The video spread on social media where it caused uproar. Berlin police identified the attacker as a Palestinian from Syria named Knaan S. who was registered at a refugee home in Brandenburg state outside Berlin, but who most recently was living "out of a suitcase" in the capital.

"Today we were 40, and next time we'll be 100", one of the organizers said in a Facebook post.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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