The debate about wearing a kippah in Western Europe returned only a decade or so ago, but it has nonetheless come to follow a rigid pattern even in that short period of time.
The cycle – there have been dozens of such cases — begins with an anti-Semitic assault. It prompts a Jewish community official to warn congregants not to wear the Jewish skullcap in a certain area or at certain periods to avoid inviting further violent attacks.
This triggers a wave of indignation that often exceeds the reaction to the original assault.
International Jewish groups hold up the warning as a sign of how bad Western Europe's anti-Semitism problem has become. Some of these groups criticize only the relevant authorities. Others also blast the local Jewish official who advised others not to wear the kippah, saying he or she should support a higher community profile, not a lower one. Finally, some local Jews downplay the official's concerns and the media move on – until the next incident.