German FM says anti-Semitism in his country a 'disgrace'
'As long as Jewish schools and synagogues in Germany need to be guarded, as long as youth are being attacked on the street for wearing a kippah, it's a disgrace,' says Heiko Maas; Palestinian Syrian attacker of Israeli Arab who wore kippah as experiment hands himself in to police.
"As long as Jewish schools and synagogues in Germany need to be guarded, as long as youth are being attacked on the street for wearing a kippah, as long as German music awards are given to anti-Semitic provocateurs – it's a disgrace," Maas said at an event marking Israel's 70th Independence Day in Berlin on Thursday.
He further asserted that Germany's "relations with Israel are a wonderful gift," adding, "Sometimes I feel as if Germans aren't worthy of it."
Israel's Ambassador to Germany Jeremy Issacharoff praised Maas for his decisive position against anti-Semitism and anti-Israel sentiments.
"I remember Heiko Maas's arrival to a Hanukkah candle-lighting event at the Brandenburg Gate, under the open sky, in the incessant rain. He came to speak out against the burning of Israeli flags several weeks earlier at the same spot," Issacharoff said.
Earlier this week, a 21-year-old Israeli Arab, Adam Armush, was attacked by Knaan S., a 19-year-old Palestinian asylum seeker from Syria, on the street in Berlin's Helmholtzplatz neighborhood, because he was wearing a kippah.
Armush said in an interview with German TV Deutsche Welle that he was not Jewish and was wearing the kippah as an experiment after he had a conversation with a Jewish friend who claimed to him that wearing Jewish identifying markers was not safe in Berlin.
In other media interviews, Armush described how he and his 24-year-old friend left their apartment wearing kippahs when a group of three young men standing on the street began verbally abusing them for wearing kippahs.
"When they kept cursing us, my friend asked them to stop cursing, and that got them angry. So one of them ran at me," Armush said.
The youth that attacked them removed his belt and repeatedly hit Armush, while calling out "Yahudi" at him - "Jew" in Arabic.
Aramush took out his phone and started recording the assault. He said he "felt it was important to film, because I didn't think we could catch him before police arrived. I wanted to give police something to go on."
The video was given over to the Berlin police, which said the suspect, who was identified from the footage and witness statements, had turned himself in on Thursday.