Singer Alleges German Hotel Employee Told Him to Put Away His Star of David Pendant

A German-Israeli singer alleged that a hotel employee in the eastern German city of Leipzig told him to put away his Star of David pendant, and refused to allow him to check into the hotel while wearing it.

Singer Gil Ofarim, who lives in Germany, shared a video on Instagram Tuesday that showed him in front of the Westin hotel in Leipzig. In the video, he said a hotel employee had asked him to put away his Star of David pendant in order to check in.

Ofarim said in his video that he noticed people that had arrived later than him were being checked in first, but he didn't know the reason. When he asked the employee at the counter, he was told he could only check in if he put away his necklace.

In an email to the Associated Press, the Westin Leipzig said that it was "concerned and alarmed by the intolerable accusations of Mr. Ofarim" and was reaching out to him for more information.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Star of David Necklace
German-Israeli singer Gil Ofarim said a hotel employee in Germany had refused him service for wearing his Star of David necklace, and had asked him to put the pendant away before he could check into the hotel. Getty Images

The head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Josef Schuster, responded on Twitter, saying "the antisemitic hostility against Gil Ofarim is appalling."

"One hopes that the Westin will take consequences regarding their staff," Schuster tweeted. "I also hope that in the future we will encounter solidarity when we get attacked."

Westin general manager Andreas Hachmeister wrote that the hotel employee in question was put on leave while the hotel tries to reach Ofarim to shed light on the entire incident.

Ofarim's manager, Yvonne Probst, could not immediately be reached for comment. German news agency dpa quoted his management team as saying that Ofarim, 39, did not want to comment further publicly.

Ofarim is the son of Israeli singer Abi Ofarim, who performed with his first wife, Esther, during the 1950s and 1960s. The couple was known internationally for their renditions of folksongs and chansons.

In his Instagram video, Ofarim says he was standing in line to register at the hotel and noticed that people standing behind him received service well ahead of him.

"I was standing there, with my necklace, and one person after the next was pulled out from behind me," Ofarim said.

He said that when he eventually got to the front of the line and asked why everybody else was getting preferential treatment, a hotel employee told him he, too, could check in if he put away his Star of David necklace first.

Ofarim, who was close to tears when he talked about his experience on Instagram, did not say what happened next but added: "Really? Germany in 2021."