After a German Jewish leader suggested that Jews should refrain from wearing kippas in public, Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel David Lau said that the local authorities should do everything in their power to ensure the safety of kippa-wearing Jews. The recommendation comes days after a 21-year-old man wearing a kippa was attacked on the streets of Berlin.

Jewish man in France

Jewish man in France Photo Credit: Serge Attal/Flash 90

Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel David Lau responded today (Tuesday) to a Jewish German leader’s recommendation that Jews should refrain from wearing the religious head cover while walking on public streets in big cities. The recommendation was made following an increase in anti-Semitic incidents.

Lau said that it is up to the German authorities to ensure that Jews are safe in their country while doing everything they can to fight anti-Semitism.

Head of Germany’s Central Council of Jews Joseph Schuster made the suggestion during an interview with a local radio program. He added that Jews who decide to wear a kippa should add an additional cover such as a hat to prevent being targeted.

The recent increase of hostile actions against the Jewish community in Germany has instilled fear in the community, especially after a former Israeli citizen, 21-year-old Adam Armush, posted a video to Facebook showing a man beating him after noticing he was wearing a kippa. The video shows the man, who appears to be a Muslim, cursing and beating the 21-year-old with a belt in the middle of a Berlin street.

As it turned out, Armush was not an unassuming victim. He was intentionally trying to prove how dangerous the streets of Berlin have become for Jewish citizens. Armush is an Arab Israeli and the attacker, a 19-year-old Syrian refugee.

In a video interview with Bild newspaper, Armush said that the kippa he was wearing was given to him as a gift by a friend. He said that he is not a Jew, but “an Israeli who grew up in Israel in an Arab family.”

The Jewish community in Germany condemned the incident, saying that the attack proved that Berlin was not safe for Jews. German Chancellor Angela Merkel also denounced the incident and promised that her government would do all it could to fight anti-Semitism.

A spokesperson for Merkel and Justice Minister Katarina Barley called the incident a “disgrace” for German democracy. Barley tweeted: “It is unbearable that Jews in Germany are attacked on the open street in the middle of Berlin.”

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas also responded to the attack and said that it “bears a responsibility to protect Jewish life,” more than 70 years after the end of the Holocaust, in which the Nazis murdered six million European Jews.”