Israel's president says he's shocked by a German official's comment that he wouldn't advise Jews to wear skullcaps in parts of the country, which is drawing mixed reactions at home.
Felix Klein, the government's anti-Semitism commissioner, was quoted Saturday as saying: "I cannot recommend to Jews that they wear the skullcap at all times everywhere in Germany." He didn't elaborate on what places and times might be risky.
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said in a statement Sunday that the statement "shocked me deeply." He added: "We will never submit, will never lower our gaze and will never react to anti-Semitism with defeatism — and expect and demand our allies act in the same way."
"Fears about the security of German Jews are a capitulation to anti-Semitism and an admittance that, again, Jews are not safe on German soil," he added.
Anti-Semitic crimes rose by 20 percent in Germany last year, according to interior ministry data which blamed nine out of 10 cases on the extreme right.
Klein, whose post was created last year, said that while the far-right was to blame for the vast majority of anti-Semitic crime, some Muslims were also influenced by watching certain television channels "which transmit a dreadful image of Israel and Jews".
Germany has a culture of atonement over atrocities committed during World War II, during which the ruling Nazis orchestrated the murder of some six million Jews in the Holocaust.