Don’t wear kippahs in public, top German Jewish leader says
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Don’t wear kippahs in public, top German Jewish leader says

Josef Schuster

Josef Schuster speaking at the Westend Synagogue in Frankfurt, Germany, Sept. 26, 2016. (Hannelore Foerster/Getty Images)

(JTA) — The head of the main Jewish umbrella in Germany has recommended that Jews not wear kippahs in public in its major cities.

“I would actually have to advise individuals not to openly wear a kippah in the metropolitan setting of Germany,” Josef Schuster, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, said in radio interviews on Tuesday.

Schuster suggested instead that Jewish people living in the major cities should “wear a baseball cap or something else.”

His statements come days after an attack on an Israeli man wearing a kippah in Berlin by a Syrian man who repeated the Arabic word for Jew, “Yahudi.” The victim, who was hit with a belt, said he was a non-Jew from Haifa and had donned the kippah to prove to another friend that Berlin is not as anti-Semitic as rumor would have it.

In response, a broad coalition from interfaith, political, academic and pro-Israel circles is endorsing the “Berlin wears a kippah” demonstration set for Wednesday evening in front of the Jewish community center in the former West Berlin, in which participants are encouraged to wear a kippah.

Shuster said that the attack is not just about anti-Semitism.

“It also comes with racism and xenophobia,” he said. “We must put a stop to these phenomena immediately.”