Berlin Jews plan ‘wear a kippah’ demonstration in response to assault


BERLIN (JTA) — The Berlin Jewish community is organizing a demonstration against anti-Semitism in response to an attack on an Israeli man wearing a yarmulke, and is urging participants to wear a kippah.

A broad coalition from interfaith, political, academic and pro-Israel circles is backing the “Berlin wears a kippah” protest set for Wednesday evening in front of the Jewish community center in former West Berlin.

On the same day, a similar demonstration is planned for Erfurt, the capital of the former East German state of Thuringia, organized by ACHAVA Festspiele Thüringen, a private cultural organization. The event will take place in the morning and conclude at the New Synagogue in the center of the historic city.

“If you can’t make it to Erfurt, then wear a kippah wherever you happen to be at that time,” the announcement said.

Last week, a young Syrian man assaulted his kippah-wearing victim with his belt and repeated the Arabic word for Jew, “Yahudi,” in public in the trendy Prenzlauer Berg neighborhood.

The victim, Adam Armoush, 21, filmed part of the incident and posted it online. He later told the German news media that he is a non-Jewish Israeli from Haifa and that he had donned the kippah to prove to another friend that Berlin is not as anti-Semitic as rumor would have it.

His video was shared widely by the Berlin-based Jewish Forum for Democracy and Against Antisemitism, and went viral.

Meanwhile, a 19-year-old Syrian citizen of Palestinian background, since dubbed the “belt attacker” in tabloid media, turned himself in to the State Criminal Police Office on Thursday accompanied by his lawyer. He has been identified as “Knaan S.” in news reports.

The incident has sparked heated discussion on social media.

In Berlin, some 40 individuals gathered Sunday for a “kippah flashmob,” starting from Alexanderplatz and ending up at the Brandenburg Gate.

“Today we were 40, and next time we’ll be 100,” one of the organizers said in a Facebook post.

Recommended from JTA