The US government’s ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, has stated Jews in the country have no need to conceal their religious identity, and called on them to wear traditional skullcaps in defiance of a statement from Germany’s government commissioner on anti-Semitism, Felix Klein, that Jews should avoid wearing a kippah in public, reports The Jerusalem Post.
“The opposite is true,” tweeted Grenell.
“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 opposite is true. 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. https://t.co/vd9nV9AvPG— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) May 26, 2019
In an interview published on Saturday, Germany's government commissioner on anti-Semitism, Felix Klein, said he “cannot advise Jews to wear the kippah everywhere all the time in Germany” due to spiralling anti-Semitism and anti-Jewish attacks in the country.
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin responded to this on Sunday in a strongly-worded statement where he admitted to being “shocked” by Klein’s interview, calling the warning to Jews regarding the cap as a “capitulation to anti-Semitism” and glaring proof that Jews were unsafe there, reported AFP.
“We will never submit, will never lower our gaze and will never react to anti-Semitism with defeatism,” said Rivlin.
The remarks by Grenell echo Chief Rabbi David Lau’s plea back in April 2018 that Jews should “keep wearing it [the skullcap] proudly.”
Lau responded to the head of Germany’s central council of Jews, Dr. Josef Schuster – who urged Jews to take off their kippah when visiting large cities – that “Jews should not be demanded to remove their skullcaps from their heads.”
Rather “Germany’s law enforcement authorities should be appealed to in order to ensure the safety of Jews in Germany,” said the Rabbi.
The Chief Rabbi of Israel, David Lau, has responded by saying that Jews should wear their kippot proudly, noting that "German authorities must ensure the safety of Jews in the country." (Channel 13) https://t.co/GZQUUEMfPF— Avi Mayer (@AviMayer) April 24, 2018
Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, told The Jerusalem Post by email: “Unacceptable, Germany! Jews should never be relegated to second-class citizens. Stand with your Jewish neighbors, punish antisemitism.”
Solomon Bali, a prominent Bulgarian Jew, tweeted in response to Klein’s announcement: “total capitulation of democracy”.
"While I understand the possible threat on Germany’s Jews, the warning should not be for them, because it unintentionally means surrendering to Antisemitism," public speaker Hananya Naftali told Sputnik. "It is anti-Semites that should be warned, not Jews. Jews shouldn’t be afraid because of their religious affiliation, it’s anti-Semites that should be afraid."
Interior Ministry data shows anti-Semitic crimes rose by 20 percent in Germany last year.