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Jews Warned Not to Wear Kippot, Stars of David in Copenhagen

Officials in Denmark have warned Jews to avoid openly wearing Jewish and religious symbols, amid increasing anti-Israel sentiments.
By Rachel Hirshfeld
First Publish: 12/12/2012, 6:08 PM

Kippot
Kippot
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Israeli and Jewish officials in Denmark on Wednesday warned Jews to avoid openly wearing religious symbols and dress when moving about Copenhagen amid rising anti-Israeli sentiments.

"We advise Israelis who come to Denmark and want to go to the synagogue to wait to don their skull caps until they enter the building and not to wear them in the street, irrespective of whether the areas they are visiting are seen as being safe," Israel's ambassador to Denmark, Arthur Avnon, told AFP.

Avnon added that visitors were also advised not to "speak Hebrew loudly" or demonstrably wear Star of David jewelry, the news agency reported.

Denmark's national Jewish Religious Community organization has also advised its members, and those at the private Jewish school in Copenhagen, to exercise caution.

Caroline Jewish School headmaster Jan Hansen told daily Jyllands-Posten: "It is not something that we do officially, but if the issue comes up we would say (to our pupils) they should think twice before walking into certain areas of Copenhagen with a skull cap or Star of David."

The warnings come a few weeks after an attack on the Israeli embassy in Copenhagen, during which anti-Israel protesters gathered outside, throwing fireworks and spraying the embassy entrance wall with graffiti saying “"childkillers".

No one was injured during the incident and one person has since been charged in the attack.

Avnon said that after the attack, a lower-ranking officer from Denmark's foreign ministry had called the embassy offering to pay for some of the damage to the building, but that otherwise official Denmark had not reacted to the incident, AFP reported.

According to figures from the Jewish Belief Centre, the organization has received 37 reports of anti-Jewish incidents this year, predominantly in the heavily immigrant Noerrebro neighborhood and around the Jewish synagogue in central Copenhagen.

Denmark's Jewish community is estimated at between 6,000 and 8,000 people.

In September, a Jewish rabbinical college in Germany similarly warned its students against wearing kippot in public, after Rabbi Daniel Alter was attacked by four Arab youths in Berlin.

During WWII, the Danes evacuated the Danish Jews to Sweden in a heroic night sea rescue. The Danish king said that he would wear the yellow star demanded of Jews by the Nazis.