Israeli president Reuven Rivlin on Sunday declared that “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.”
On Saturday, Felix Klein, the German government’s anti-Semitism commissioner, told the Funke media group: “I cannot advise Jews to wear the kippah everywhere all the time in Germany.” Klein noted that this represented a change from his earlier position.
Deutsche Welle cited official figures showing that the number of attacks against Jews in Germany increased 10% in one year, from 1,504 in 2017 to 1,646 in 2018. The number of reported violent cases against Jews rose from 37 to 62 over the same period.
German Justice Minister Katarina Barley said in an interview with the Handelsblatt newspaper that the increase was “shameful for our country,” adding that the police were “vigilant.”
Josef Schuster, head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, on Sunday told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper that Jews in Germany have become less secure in recent years.
“On the whole I don’t tend to dramatize, but the situation has by and large really deteriorated,” Schuster said, “It has been the case for a while now that Jews are at risk in some major cities if recognizable as Jews.”
An irate President Rivlin insisted that “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 admittance 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,” the president said.