Germans of all faiths don Jewish kippah to protest towards anti-Semitism

Israeli settlers pray at the Western wall against Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's plan to remove Jewish settlers from Gaza

Thousands of people are expected to don kippas at rallies in cities across Germany in the evening to stand with the country's Jewish community.

The chairman of the Jewish Community in Berlin, Gideon Joffe, gave his approval to the kippah protests.

Three people who protested separately against anti-Semitism in the Arab immigrant neighborhood of Neukoelln ended their demonstration earlier after a one person took away their Israeli flag, police said.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel slammed what she called "another form of anti-Semitism".

She reaffirmed that the security of Jews and of the state of Israel was a central concern for Germany because of its "eternal responsibility" for the Holocaust in which the Nazis murdered six million European Jews.

Amid the anguished national debate, organisers of the Echo prize said Wednesday they would axe the award because they did not want it to be "seen as a platform for anti-Semitism, misogyny, homophobia or the playing down of violence".

Josef Schuster, the head of Germany's Central Council of Jews, told broadcaster Radioeins Tuesday that wearing a skullcap is right in principle, but that he was advising individuals "against showing themselves openly with a kippa in a big-city setting in Germany, and wear a baseball cap or something else to cover their head instead".

The awarding of this year's Echo music prize to a rapper duo accused of reciting anti-Semitic lyrics caused outrage. "You need a clear stop sign here".

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"We must never allow anti-Semitism to become commonplace in Germany again", Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told the daily Tagesspiegel ahead of a "Berlin Wears Kippa" event where Jews and non-Jews will wear the traditional skullcap in a shared show of defiance.

"As Jews, we want to be able to move freely, whether with kippa or without", Borgmann said. "We have now to be happy with who we're and on the similar time battle anti-Semitism".

Newspapers had offered paper cutouts of skullcaps for readers to wear.

"Not wearing a skullcap due to fear of anti-Semitism is in fact the fulfillment of the vision of anti-Semites in Europe", he said in a statement.

As BBC News reports, the president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany is urging discretion, especially in urban areas.

The far-right Alternative for Germany party, which captured almost 13 percent of the vote in September's general election, has also not shied away from questioning Germany's cherished "remembrance culture".

Jewish community leaders said it was the biggest such display in public since before World War II.

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