The Westin hotel in Leipzig, Germany

German hotel workers probed after singer's anti-Semitism claim

Prosecutors examine accusations against hotel employees in Leipzig, after Gil Ofarim claimed in a video the two employees asked him to 'put away' his Star of David pendant

AFP |
Published: 10.07.21, 11:44
German prosecutors opened an investigation into employees at a hotel after a rock musician made accusations of anti-Semitism against them in a video posted on social media.
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  • The singer Gil Ofarim, 39, said in an emotional video published Tuesday that two employees at the Westin hotel in Leipzig, in eastern Germany, had asked him to "put away" a Star of David pendant before he would be allowed to check in.
    Two employees at the Westin were subsequently suspended while the accusations are investigated, a spokeswoman for the Marriott International hotel group said on Wednesday.
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    The Westin hotel in Leipzig, Germany
    The Westin hotel in Leipzig, Germany
    The Westin hotel in Leipzig, Germany
    (Photo: Wikipedia)
    "Prosecutors are currently examining the accusations made against the hotel employees," said authorities in Leipzig. At the same time, one of the accused filed for defamation, describing the events "very differently" to the singer, according to a spokeswoman for the police.
    The same individual reported threats made against him via his Instagram account. Ofarim rejected the defamation allegation, saying that it was "exactly like how I described it in the video."
    "I find it shameful and sad that I still have to justify and explain myself after such an incident," he told Spiegel Online. After the video was published on Tuesday, thousands of people gathered outside the hotel to demonstrate in solidarity with the singer and against anti-Semitism.
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    German-Israeli singer Gil Ofarim
    German-Israeli singer Gil Ofarim
    German-Israeli singer Gil Ofarim
    Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said he was "stunned" by the incident, warning that "Leipzig is not a one-off" and calling on Germans to stand together against anti-Semitism.
    Meanwhile the German government's Commissioner for Jewish Life and the Fight against Anti-Semitism Felix Klein offered his "sympathy and solidarity" to Ofarim in an interview with the Funke media group. It was "good and important" that the incident had been made public, Klein said, and showed the need for more "education" on anti-Semitism in Germany.
    "I am tired of the daily attacks on Jews, whether verbal or non-verbal, in real life or digitally," the general secretary of the Conference of European Rabbis Gady Gronich said.
    Ofarim is the son of the singer Abi Ofarim, who performed with his first wife, Esther, during the 1950s and 1960s. The couple were known internationally for their renditions of folksongs and chansons, Abi ofarim died in 2018.

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