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The head of the Jewish community in Germany has urged Jews to not to wear kippahs — traditional skullcaps — due to heightened concern over recent anti-Semitic attacks.
“Defiantly showing your colors would in principle be the right way to go,” Josef Schuster, the president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, said on Berlin public radio, according to the BBC. “Nevertheless, I would advise individual people against openly wearing a kippah in big German cities.”
Last week, video footage surfaced that showed two men wearing kippahs being attacked with a belt. Jewish organizations have also voiced concern over other recent anti-Semitic incidents.
Over the weekend Chancellor Angela Merkel denounced what she characterized as “another form of anti-Semitism,” saying threats were coming from both right-wing groups and some Muslims refugees in the country, BBC reports.
Schuster added that “our democracy would be at risk” if Germany does not fight anti-Semitism. “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 remarks come ahead of the ‘Berlin Wears Kippah’ march on Wednesday, which was organized in response to the assault.
Other Jewish organizations, however, advise a different approach.
“We must take up this fight and be visible again in public,” a spokesperson for the Berlin-based Jewish Forum for Democracy and Against Anti-Semitism said, according to the BBC.