Isaac Herzog
Isaac HerzogREUTERS

Jewish Agency chief Isaac Herzog responded to a warning by Germany’s anti-Semitism czar against wearing Jewish head coverings in public, urging European leaders to safeguard local Jewish communities amid a rising tide of anti-Semitism.

“It is unbelievable that 74 years after the end of World War II, Jews in Germany are unable to wear kippot on their heads because they fear for their lives,” said Herzog in a statement Sunday.

Herzog said the warning against wearing kippot was a symptom of a serious problem in Europe, and called on European leaders to do more to protect local Jewish communities.

“This determination by Mr. Klein fits perfectly with what I said before, that Jews are again unable to walk the streets of Europe safely. That’s a fact. I call on all of the governments of Europe, and of course the government of Germany, to take steps to ensure the safety of local Jewish communities.”

On Saturday, Germany’s commissioner for public efforts to combat anti-Semitism, Felix Klein, made waves when he advised Jews not to wear kippot in Germany, citing safety concerns.

"I cannot advise Jews to wear the kippah everywhere all the time in Germany," Felix Klein said in an interview published Saturday by the Funke regional press group.

In issuing the warning, he said he had "alas, changed my mind (on the subject) compared to previously."

Klein, whose post was created last year, cited "the lifting of inhibitions and the uncouthness which is on the rise in society" as factors behind a rising incidence of anti-Semitism.

"The internet and social media have largely contributed to this -- but so have constant attacks against our culture of remembrance."