/All synagogues, Jewish schools in Germany need police guards, Angela Merkel says

All synagogues, Jewish schools in Germany need police guards, Angela Merkel says

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned that every synagogue and Jewish school across the country needs constant police protection amid a rise in anti-Semitism in Germany and across much of Europe.

In an interview with CNN, Merkel noted that the historic strain of anti-Semitism in Germany necessitated state protection of Jewish citizens to this day. Her warning came just days after a government minister urged Jews not to wear a kippah—a traditional Jewish cap—in public in case they were targeted by anti-Semites.

Merkel told CNN that Germany has “always had a certain number of anti-Semites among us, unfortunately.” She added, “There is to this day not a single synagogue, not a single daycare center for Jewish children, not a single school for Jewish children that does not need to be guarded by German policemen.”

The four-term chancellor said that young Germans must face “the specters of the past” to ensure that the country does not return to the anti-Semitism that engulfed the nation over 80 years ago. “We have to tell our young people what history has brought over us and others,” she explained.

Merkel’s warning comes soon after the government’s anti-Semitism commissioner, Felix Klein, suggested that German Jews should avoid wearing kippahs in some parts of the country due to an increasing rate of violent anti-Semitism.

The number of attacks against Jews in Germany increased from 1,504 in 2017 to 1,646 in 2018, Deutsche Welle reported, marking a rise of 10 percent. Over the same period, the recorded number of violent cases against Jewish people increased from 37 to 62.

“I cannot advise Jews to wear the kippah everywhere all the time in Germany,” Klein said in an interview carried by the Funke media group. He added he had “changed his mind [on the subject] compared to previously.”

Merkel’s spokesperson has also been vowing to German Jews that the government will protect them amid apparent rising anti-Jewish sentiment. “It’s the job of the state to ensure that anybody can move around securely with a skullcap in any place of our country,” Steffen Seibert said on Monday.

Following Seibert’s intervention, Klein issued a new statement to Funke calling on Germans nationwide to wear the kippah to coincide with al-Quds day—an annual event protesting Israeli control of Jerusalem—this coming Saturday.

Many Germans have reacted to the concerning anti-Semitism figures by expressing solidarity for their Jewish compatriots. On Monday, tabloid newspaper Bild printed a kippah on its front page and encouraged readers to cut it out and wear it to express support for the Jewish community.

German, police, synagogue, anti-Semitism, protection, Angela Merkel

In this file photo, German police officers stand guard outside a synagogue on March 1, 2015 in Bremen, Germany. Alexander Koerner/Getty Images

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