BERLIN — Germany’s top official responsible for efforts against anti-Semitism suggested this weekend that Jews should not wear their skullcaps everywhere in public, setting off a debate about balancing personal safety and the right to religious freedom in the country.
The recommendation by Felix Klein, a federal official, came amid growing evidence that, three-quarters of a century after the Holocaust, anti-Semitism is on the rise.
In the interview published by the newspaper Die Welt and other outlets on Saturday, Mr. Klein said his thinking on the issue had changed. “I can’t tell Jews to wear the kippa everywhere in Germany,” he said, referring to the traditional skullcap.
The remark suggested a sobering state of affairs in Germany, analysts said.
“When a representative of the federal government officially tells the Jewish community that ‘you are not safe against anti-Jewish hate everywhere in Germany,’ then that is a pathetic display for the rule of law and political reality,” said Michel Friedman, a journalist and politician who has served as president of the European Jewish Congress.