German Jews should stop 'making themselves recognisable' in Muslim neighbourhoods, says Jewish council leader

Dr Josef Schuster says male Jews should refrain from wearing the kippah in certain districts

Jamie Campbell
Saturday 14 March 2015 14:26
A woman wears a kippah, the traditional Jewish headdress, as she takes part in a demonstration in Berlin
A woman wears a kippah, the traditional Jewish headdress, as she takes part in a demonstration in Berlin

Jewish people in Germany should avoid making themselves too visible in Muslim neighbourhoods, according to the president of the country's Central Council of Jews.

Speaking to rbb radio, Dr Josef Schuster said: "The question is whether it makes sense for Jews to make themselves recognisable by wearing a kippah (skull cap) in what I call problem neighbourhoods."

He then clarified that he was talking about neighbourhoods that had "a large proportion of Muslims in the population" and mentioned Berlin as a city with a particularly high number of such areas.

He added: "This is a development that I didn’t expect five years ago and which is certainly a little horrifying."

Schuster’s comments come in the wake of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calling for a "massive immigration" of European Jews to Israel, following a shooting of a Jewish guard in Copenhagen, last month.

Mr Netanyahu said: "Jews were killed on European land just because they were Jewish."

Jewish German journalist Terry Swartzberg refuted Schuster’s recommendations and told The Local that he had made a point of wearing his kippah every day for the last two years.

"I’ve worn the kippah in places like [southern Berlin district] Neukölln. I walked through there a couple of years ago and nothing’s happened to me. I’ve been to a lot of supposedly dangerous areas."

Despite Swartzberg's claims, there is a strong feeling that anti-Semitism may be on the rise in Germany.

In July 2014, Molotov cocktails were thrown into the Bergiche synagogue in the Westphalia city of Wuppertal whilst last month Berlin imam, Anu Bilal Ismail, called on Allah to "destroy the Zionist Jews… Count them and kill them, to the very last one."

Shakah Shapira, a young Israeli man, was attacked by seven "Arabic speaking" men in Berlin on New Year’s Eve. He filmed the men making racial slurs and singing: "F*** Israel, f*** Jews" on the subway.

In February the German government was heavily criticised for creating a commission to tackle anti-Semitism that did not include a single Jew.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in