Berlin Jewish Community Launches 'Wear a Kippa' Campaign After Israeli Arab Posing as Jew Attacked

Campaign to oppose hatred comes after Israeli Arab wearing skullcap as 'experiment' was attacked in Berlin

A screenshot shows a man attacking an Israeli Arab wearing a Jewish skullcap.

Berlin's Jewish community has launched a "Berlin wears the kippa" campaign in response to an attack this week on a young Israeli Arab wearing the traditional Jewish skullcap, said Gideon Joffe, the chairman of the community, on Friday.

The objective was to mobilize a broad social alliance to oppose hatred, he said, noting that the Jewish community had repeatedly warned its members against wearing the kippa in public.

"But now a situation has arisen that we are no longer prepared to accept without resistance," Joffe said.

Berlin Mayor Michael Mueller is scheduled to speak at an event under the title "Berlin wears the kippa" in front of the Jewish community's building on Wednesday evening. Josef Schuster, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, is also to speak at the event.

On Tuesday evening, a 21-year-old Israeli Arab and his friend were walking in the Prenzlauer Berg neighborhood of Berlin wearing kippas when they were accosted by three Arab speakers who called out anti-Semitic insults.

One of the men launched an attack with a belt and a bottle on the 21-year-old. A mobile phone video of the incident can be seen on YouTube, and an alleged assailant has been arrested.

The victim told German media that he wore the traditional Jewish skullcap as an experiment.

"I'm not Jewish, I'm an Israeli, I grew up in Israel in an Arab family," the man told German broadcaster Deutsche Welle. 

He was conducting what he termed an "experiment" in response to a warning from a friend that wearing a kippa in Germany was unsafe, saying he refused to believe this.

Anti-Semitic incidents have been on the rise across Germany. Several Jewish students have reported anti-Semitic bullying in schools in recent months and Israeli flags were burnt during a recent protest in Berlin.