Every Jewish Institution in Germany Needs Police Protection, Merkel Says

'Unfortunately, there has always been a certain number of anti-Semites among us,' German chancellor says following a warning that Jews should refrain from wearing skullcaps in public

German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrives for the Ohel-Jakob award ceremony on the 10th anniversary of the Synagogue in Munich, southern Germany, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016.
Matthias Schrader,AP

German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed concerns over the country's rise in anti-Semitism on Tuesday, saying there is no Jewish institution in the country that does not need police protection.

"Unfortunately there is to this day not a single synagogue, not a single day care center for Jewish children, not a single school for Jewish children that does not need to be guarded by German policemen," Merkel said in an interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour.

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"There has always been a certain number of anti-Semites among us, Unfortunately," Merkel added.

The interview comes after Germany's anti-Semitism commissioner Felix Klein warned on Saturday that Jews refrain from wearing skullcaps in public.

"My opinion on the matter has changed following the ongoing brutalization in German society," Felix Klein told Funke media group newspapers. "I can no longer recommend Jews wear a kippa at every time and place in Germany," he said.   

In response to Klein's warnings, the German government called on all of Germany to wear skullcaps in solidarity with Jews. "The state must see to it that the free exercise of religion is possible for all... and that anyone can go anywhere in our country in full security wearing a kippa," Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert, said on Monday.

Klein has since joined the call as well, urging Germans to "citizens in Berlin and everywhere in Germany to wear the kippa on Saturday when people will agitate unbearably against Israel and against Jews on 'Al-Quds Day.'"

Saturday is Al-Quds day, which marks the occupation of East Jerusalem by Israel in the Six-Day War in 1967. Palestinian groups launch protests to mark their resistance to Israeli occupation on the day.

Merkel also spoke about the results of the European Union elections, by which centrist parties weakened as Germany's Green Party gained support.

"We have to deal with the ghosts out the past," Merkel said. "We have to tell our young people what history has brought over us and others," she added.

According to data from the German Federal Ministry of the Interior, there has been a rise of 20 percent in anti-Semitic crimes in the country. Extreme right-wing activists in Germany committed 90 percent of the 1,800 incidents that took place in 2018. 

Merkel has been accused of making way for the rising populism in Europe due to her open door policy regarding refugees. Speaking with Amanpour, she defended her decision, saying because of Germany's past, they must be more "vigilant" than others.