“I call on all citizens of Berlin and across Germany to wear the kippah next Saturday,” said Felix Klein.
By United With Israel Staff and JNS
Germany’s commissioner on combating anti-Semitism is now calling on Germans to wear a kippah, the Jewish skullcap, in public on Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath, as a sign of solidarity with the country’s Jewish population.
The call by Felix Klein came after an interview was published this past Saturday in which he had warned that it was probably too risky to wear a kippah in public in Germany. “I cannot recommend to Jews that they wear the skullcap at all times everywhere in Germany,” he told the Funke media group.
Klein’s latest comments, also to Funke, followed criticism by Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin, Israel’s ambassador to Berlin, and ultimately by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman of the commissioner’s earlier warning.
“The state must see to it that the free exercise of religion is possible…and that anyone can go anywhere in our country in full security wearing a kippa,” Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert said at a news conference, as cited by the AFP news agency.
In the comments published Tuesday, Klein said: “I call on all citizens of Berlin and across Germany to wear the kippah next Saturday if there are new, intolerable attacks targeting Israel and Jews on the occasion of Al-Quds Day in Berlin,” according to AFP.
The so-called Al-Quds Day is marked by Muslims during the final days of Ramadan.
Israel, for its part, marks Jerusalem Day, the anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem in 1967, including the Israeli capture of Judaism’s holiest site, the Temple Mount, with prayers, marches, and other celebrations. It is commemorated according to the Jewish calendar, and falls this year on this coming Saturday night and Sunday.
One of Germany’s leading dailies printed a “do-it-yourself kippah” cutout on its front page on Monday as an act of solidarity with the Jewish community.
Ahead of the publication, which occupied about a quarter of the front page, Bild editor-in-chief Julian Reichelt wrote: “If only one person in our country cannot wear [a] kippah without endangering himself, the answer can only be that we all wear a kippah. The kippah belongs to Germany!”