German Jews are warning their own people against wearing yarmulkes in public due to a rise in anti-Semitic attacks.
Josef Schuster, who is president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, spoke to Berlin public radio to advise Jews to be careful in big cities. He said:
“Defiantly showing your colours would in principle be the right way to go [to tackle anti-Semitism]. Nevertheless, I would advise individual people against openly wearing a kippah in big German cities. […] This is not only about anti-Semitism – it goes along with racism, it goes along with xenophobia. You need a clear stop sign here.”
His comments come after two young men wearing yarmulkes, also called kippahs, were assaulted in Berlin last week. The assault was caught on video, with the attacker shouting anti-Semitic abuse.
In the video the attacker hits the men with his belt and can be heard shouting “Yahudi,” an Arabic word for Jew.
Ironically, one of the victims wasn’t actually Jewish, but was wearing a yarmulkes to find out if the rumors that it was dangerous to wear a yarmulkes in Berlin were true.
A “Berlin Wears Kippah” solidarity march was held in the German capital on Wednesday, to give encouragement to the Jewish community.
In light of the recent attacks, a spokesperson for the Jewish Forum for Democracy and Against Anti-Semitism has had a change of heart on how to combat the racist abuse.
“I used to always advise my Jewish friends and acquaintances not to wear a kippah so as not to show their Jewish identity. I changed my opinion.
We must take up this fight and be visible in public.”
feature image: Josef Schuster via World Jewish Congress