19 Feb 2015

Jewish journalist: dangerous to wear a kippah in Europe

An Israeli journalist who filmed himself being verbally abused and spat at as he walked around Paris tells Channel 4 News he “wouldn’t recommend his friends walk around Europe with a kippah”.

Zvika Klein filmed himself wearing a kippah as he set out for “10 hours of silent walking through all areas of Paris”.

The footage has been edited down to 96 seconds, and almost five million people have viewed the clip since it was uploaded.

Mr Klein told Channel 4 News: “It started off very calm, I had heads turning and stuff like that.

“I could kind understand because maybe not everybody in Paris has seen someone, you know, an orthodox Jew.

“But as time went on and the more I got closer to Muslim neighbourhoods it started getting very negative, certain situations where I actually felt scared and frightened.

“At the end of the day, as you can see, people are looking at me as an orthodox Jew and accordingly they don’t know who I am and they curse me and they spit on me.”

In the aftermath of the incidents, the high-profile French philosopher and writer Bernard-Henri Lévy told the UN General Assembly that the world has to confront “the renewed advance of this radical inhumanity, this total baseness that is anti-Semitism.”

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has called for the “mass immigration” of European Jews to Israel.

However, the French National Observatory Against Islamophobia has also recorded hundreds of anti-Muslim attacks in France in the wake of the Paris attacks.

‘Not provocative’

Klein, who works as world correspondent for NRG, an Israeli news website, denied that the video is provocative.

“I don’t think it should be a provocation because this is the way I dress. I wear a kippah on my head every day, everywhere I go except for certain places in Europe because I’m afraid for my safety.

“I wouldn’t recommend my friends in Europe to walk around with this [a kippah] on their head because it’s dangerous.”

“From my standpoint, nobody should be harassed because of their religion. Religion should be something that you could practice anywhere.”

Critics say the “10 hours in…” videos convey a false impression because of the large amount of editing that takes place.

In February, figures released by a Jewish charity showed anti-semitism in the UK had reached a 30-year high.

The Community Security Trust recorded close to 1,200 incidents in 2014, more than double the number in 2013.