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‘Pack your star’: German Jewish musician asked to hide Star of David to check in at hotel in Leipzig

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German singer and actor Gil Ofarim. Photo: Sven Mandel / Wikimedia commons

German Jewish musician Gil Ofarim claimed he was turned away from a hotel in the city of Leipzig for visibly wearing a Star of David pendant on a chain around his neck, sparking outrage from the Jewish community .

In a moving Instagram video posted Monday evening, sitting on the stairs to the Westin Leipzig hotel, Ofarim shared details of his experience, which he said left him “speechless.”

Ofarim said he was waiting in a long line at the hotel because the computers at the check-in counter were down.

“I was standing in the queue wearing my necklace which is my right and which I have worn all my life,” he said, holding up his Star of David pendant.

Ofarim, 39, noticed that guests in the same line were moved in front of him to check in and he couldn’t understand why. After nearly an hour, he finally arrived at the counter and asked the receptionist why he had left him waiting when other guests were brought in on several occasions.

The clerk responded “to straighten the queue,” Ofarim said.

“I was also in line,” retorted the musician.

“Then, in a corner, someone says ‘win your star’ [referencing the Star of David pendant]. Then the front desk clerk says “pack your star and then you can check in,” Ofarim recalls. The Munich-born singer is the son of Israeli pop star Abi Ofarim, who had several hit singles in the 1960s with his first wife Esther.

Following the incident, Ofarim wrote in a Facebook post: “Haven’t we learned anything from the past? I am speechless! … It’s not the first time, but now it’s enough.

Condemning the incident, Josef Schuster, chairman of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, asked, “Where were the other people in the line at the reception who stood next to Gil Ofarim? Why did no one protest?

“The anti-Semitic hostility against Gil Ofarim is terrifying. This is the daily anti-Semitism that Jews are repeatedly exposed to, ”added Schuster. “One can only hope that the Westin draws the necessary human consequences. I also hope that we will meet solidarity in the future if we are attacked. “

The German Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency (FADA) said: “This is an incredible case of anti-Semitism and represents a violation of the AGG [General Equal Treatment Act]. A prompt response from the hotel is long overdue. From our point of view, this cannot remain without consequences.

The German Union of Jewish Students (JSUD) also called for the consequences of the incident to be drawn. “That’s enough. We don’t want to hide anymore,” JSUD President Anna Staroselski tweeted.

Contacted for comments on Tuesday by the Associated Press, the Westin Leipzig said it was “concerned and alarmed” by Ofarim’s story, and that the hotel employee had been put on leave pending further investigation.