Israeli President Issues Defiant Statement After German Antisemitism Commissioner Tells Jews Not to Wear Kippot in Public: ‘We Will Never Submit’

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin talks during a press conference at the Presidential Palace in Nicosia, Cyprus, Feb. 12, 2019. Photo: Reuters / Yiannis Kourtoglou.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin issued a defiant statement on Saturday after Germany’s top official on fighting antisemitism suggested that Jewish men should limit the wearing of kippot in public.

“We will never submit, will never lower our gaze, and will never react to antisemitism with defeatism,” Rivlin said.

His statement came after the German government’s Commissioner on Antisemitism, Felix Klein, said on Saturday, “I cannot advise Jews to wear the kippa everywhere all the time in Germany.”

Klein blamed this situation on “the lifting of inhibitions and the uncouthness which is on the rise in society,” and said, “The internet and social media have largely contributed to this — but so have constant attacks against our culture of remembrance.”

“The statement of the German government’s antisemitism commissioner, that it would be preferable for Jews not wear a kippa in Germany out of fear for their safety, shocked me deeply,” Rivlin responded in a statement.

“Responsibility for the welfare, the freedom, and the right to religious belief of every member of the German Jewish community is in the hands of the government of Germany and its law enforcement agencies,” he said.

“We acknowledge and appreciate the moral position of the government of Germany and its commitment to the Jewish community that lives there,” Rivlin added, “but fears about the security of German Jews are a capitulation to antisemitism and an admittance that, again, Jews are not safe on German soil.”

“We will never submit, will never lower our gaze, and will never react to antisemitism with defeatism — and we expect and demand our allies act in the same way,” the president concluded.

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Author: Benjamin Kerstein


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