“Wear your kippa. Wear your friend’s kippa. Borrow a kippa and wear it for our Jewish neighbors. Educate people that we are a diverse society,” the U.S. envoy to Germany tweeted.
By World Israel News Staff
Following last week’s statement from the Commissioner for Jewish Life in Germany and the Fight Against Anti-Semitism, Felix Klein, who told the Funke newspaper group that Jews should not publicly wear skullcaps due to “ongoing brutalization in German society,” high-profile leaders have strongly condemned the statement.
Richard Grenell, the U.S. government’s ambassador to Germany, tweeted that Jews in Germany should not conceal their skullcaps in public as part of efforts to stem the tide of growing anti-Semitism.
Grenell tweeted, “The opposite is true. Wear your kippa [skullcap]. Wear your friend’s kippa. Borrow a kippa and wear it for our Jewish neighbors. Educate people that we are a diverse society.”
Grenell is recognized for his efforts to combat anti-Semitism in Germany and at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.
Concerning the matter, Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin stated, “The statement of the German government’s anti-Semitism commissioner, that it would be preferable for Jews not wear a kippah in Germany out of fear for their safety, shocked me deeply.”
Rivlin added “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 will never submit, will never lower our gaze and will never react to anti-Semitism with defeatism – and we expect and demand our allies act in the same way.”
Berlin’s Rabbi Yehuda Teichtal urged Jews to wear their skullcaps with pride. Additionally, he wrote on Facebook, “The combating of anti-Semitism is a top priority so it is appreciated that this is being addressed by top representatives of the government.”
In response to Klein’s announcement, London-based expert on anti-Semitism Julie Lenarz posted on his Twitter account, “This policy punishes victims and rewards perpetrators.”
This is not the first time that Jews in Germany have been asked to remove their religious head covering. In 2018, the head of Germany’s central council of Jews, Dr. Josef Schuster, urged Jews to remove their skullcaps while visiting large cities.
In response, Israel’s Chief Rabbi David Lau stated, “Jews should not be demanded to remove their skullcaps from their heads. But Germany’s law enforcement authorities should be appealed to in order to ensure the safety of Jews in Germany.”
Before World War II, approximately 9 million Jews lived in Germany. Today, the German Jewish community consists of less than 100,000 people.