Israeli president ‘deeply shocked’ at German official’s warning to Jews against wearing skullcap

Germany appears to be returning to its pre-World War II ways, and that’s not a good thing.

On Saturday the European nation’s anti-Semitism commissioner was quoted as saying, “I cannot recommend to Jews that they wear the skullcap at all times everywhere in Germany.”

While commissioner Felix Klein reportedly meant well — anti-Semitic attacks have been skyrocketing throughout Europe, particularly in Germany, where last year it rose by 20 percent — his shocking comment was nevertheless not well received by those of Jewish ancestry.

“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,” Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said in a statement Sunday, according to The Times of Israel.

“Responsibility for the welfare, the freedom and the right to religious belief of every member of the German Jewish community is in the hands of the German government and its law enforcement agencies.”

“We acknowledge and appreciate the moral position of the German government, and its commitment to the Jewish community that lives there, but fears about the security of German Jews are a capitulation to anti-Semitism and an admission that, again, Jews are not safe on German soil.”

“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,” his statement concluded.

When he said “again,” he meant pre-World War II Germany, which was rocked by the rise of Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler. His rise eventually led to the Holocaust, during which an estimated six million European Jews were essentially exterminated.

Saturday’s remark by Klein was not the first instance of the commissioner, who himself isn’t a Jew, warning about the growing tide of anti-Semitism throughout Germany and all of Europe.

During an interview last year with the Times,  he warned that while the streets of Germany were mostly safe, it was important for Jews to remain “vigilant.”

“It’s not entirely without danger; one has to be alert. In the end, everyone has to assess the risks for himself. The danger is there. But I wouldn’t necessarily agree with those who say it’s absolutely impossible to show one’s Jewishness in public in Germany,” he said.

Only a year has passed, and now he’s telling Jews to avoid wearing religious garb in public. What’s changed? Germany has slowly but surely become home to a forever-expanding horde of Muslim migrants, according to the Gatestone Institute think tank.

“The alarming scale of anti-Semitism in Germany has been escalating with newly arrived refugees, mainly from Muslim lands, and causing the government previously to launch a desperate integration program with a warning that this kind of hatred would not be tolerated in the country,” the institute notes.

“The German government also decided to introduce extensive discussions about Germany’s Nazi past in the course designed to make newcomers integrate into democratic societies. The situation seemed to be getting out of control with escalating anti-Semitism among more than a million asylum seekers from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Learn more about these “extensive discussions” below:

And at the start of this month the German Parliament approved a resolution condemning the Muslim-supported “Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions” movement against Israel.

“The motion called on the German government not to support events organized by BDS or other groups that actively pursue its aims, and vowed that parliament wouldn’t finance any projects that call for a boycott of Israel or actively support the movement,” the Times reported.

“It was filed by the country’s three governing parties, along with two mainstream opposition parties, and passed by a large majority.”

It’s clear Germany is taking steps to combat anti-Semitism. The problem, as demonstrated by both Klein’s shocking rhetoric and the rise of anti-Semitism throughout Germany and all of Europe, is that these steps aren’t clearly aren’t enough.


If anything, Klein’s statement is a tacit admission of defeat and failure, according to Michael Friedman, a former deputy leader of Germany’s main Jewish group.

“[T]he state must ensure that Jews can show themselves everywhere without fear,” he said.

Joachim Herrmann, the interior minister of the German federal state Bavaria, agrees.

“Everyone can and should wear his skullcap wherever and whenever he wants,” he said.

They should be able to do so without having to face attacks like this:

This attack occurred just one year ago, when a 19-year-old Syrian thug assaulted a man for wearing a skullcap. The irony is that the victim wasn’t even Jewish. He’d worn the skullcap to test his friend’s seemingly unbelievable thesis that it was too dangerous to wear one in public.

“They kept cursing us and my friend asked them to stop cursing,” he said at the time to the media. “They started to get angry and one of them ran to me and I knew it was important to film it because there would be no way to catch him by the time police arrived.”

“Honestly, I’m surprised a thing like this could happen.”


Anti-Semitism is very real, and sadly, it’s on the rise in Germany.


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Vivek Saxena


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